Student Government Must Shift Its Focus

A.S. Council members are elected to represent student interests and make decisions on their behalf. Because of this, council members are endowed with a huge responsibility and truly have the power to impact campus culture and student well-being. However, the past few months have demonstrated that self-interest pollutes the decision-making process and deters council members from accomplishing goals and implementing changes that directly affect the general student body.

It is unfortunate that the voices on A.S. Council, whose offices directly influence the university’s goals and decision-making process, are quickly being silenced early on in the meetings to move on to apparently more pertinent issues, such as constitutional amendments and election processes. A.S. Council’s recent focus on relentlessly amending the A.S. constitution and election code have exhausted countless hours on issues that only a handful of individuals care about. While elections and the transitioning processes are, to an extent, important, that time could have been used in a much more productive manner. However, the timing of these changes is not surprising since this A.S. Council’s terms are approximately two-thirds of the way over and members are looking ahead to how they will be remembered. If legacies are to be established, these changes are far from remarkable.

Some offices within A.S. Council have successfully executed events and programs, with representatives passionately fighting for the needs of their constituents.  As was recently pointed out in certain resignation emails, there were indeed opportunities for A.S. Council as a whole to do more. Most of the major issues concerning outside students were primarily brought up by individuals who do not actually sit on A.S. Council itself. Although passing resolutions and taking formal stances may not appear to make a difference immediately, they demonstrate to the student body and the university that we do have a voice that brings us together. Students, including A.S. Council members, witnessed how UC Student Association’s recent actions and campaigns united students across the University of California system and created change. However, the only way any type of difference can be made is by students becoming aware of the power they have.

During the past few months, two council members resigned under heated circumstances. Tritons Forward might have swept the seats last year, but the recent lack of cohesion and the presence of evidently personal drama in the Forum could be avoided if members on A.S. Council would shift their focus to their constituents rather than to themselves and the positions they hold. Terms are about to expire, but it is not too late to put egos aside and work together to make a positive change in our community.