Editorial

    With the A.S. elections season in full swing, many like-minded groups of candidates — slates — have made their presence felt at UCSD in the last several weeks. Over half a dozen slates are vying for undergraduate students’ votes, each attempting to demonstrate that its particular lineup will prove the most advantageous for mindfully carrying out the responsibilities associated with A.S. Council and senate positions.

    However, the importance of truly student-relevant election issues has been all but lost as students drown in the plethora of slate-produced flyers, banners and media all over campus. The Guardian believes that while slates may increase visibility for blocks of A.S. Council candidates, they are unnecessarily burdensome and detract from the issues of real concern for the electorate.

    A slate’s existential goal is to get itself — all of its members — elected to student government. The 2000-2001 Unity slate’s phenomenal sweep of all ballot positions shows unquestionably that this can be achieved. A single-minded body politic, however, completely undermines the notion of the competitive marketplace of ideas. When all members of an elected council come into office with the same ideological stance and goals, the diversity of dissent is lost. Internal critique and the mutability of ideas, so important to a democratically minded organization, is threatened if there is little or no disagreement on matters.

    The tendency of slate organizers is to balance as best they can the need for a diverse group of candidates with those who would be the most appropriate for the elected positions. Slates, naturally concerned with the image they project to the public, may have the unfortunate tendency to skimp on the qualifications of their candidates in favor of presenting a slate with a particular makeup. A slate’s driving force is the unified front it presents, making it imperative that a slate advance candidates for most or all of the positions up for grabs at an election.

    It is highly imaginative to suppose that any particular slate, no matter its claims, can possibly number among its membership the best and brightest candidate for each position. The rush to find similarly disposed candidates, though, may result in the recruitment of those who are not the most suitable for an A.S. Council position. These candidates may nevertheless help to reduce the slate’s perceived deficiency of a particular gender or ethnicity, and so are recruited onto slates. When semiqualified candidates are elected over more qualified ones on partisan lines, they compromise the quality and makeup of UCSD’s student government.

    To ensure the highest quality A.S. Council next year, UCSD students should shy from voting strictly along slate lines next week. It is easy to become distracted by the bright banners and flyers as slates campaign for students’ attention, but it is important to choose candidates based on their qualifications and not on the catchiness of their slate’s election propaganda. A conscientious examination of the candidates’ agendas will yield what no slate slogan can.

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