Editorial: Loyalty oaths wrong solution in A.S. appts

    When the 2004 debacle involving the A.S. Council’s representative to the Registration Fee Advisory Committee had cleared, fallout was inevitable. New committee member applicants are now settled with the consequences.

    It started when a former A.S. representative to RFAC refused to play ball with the council’s wishes in spring 2004. In direct response, the council now requires student representatives chosen to speak on behalf of the student body on campuswide committees to swear that they will obey the student government’s wishes.

    In essence, the move turns the position into a talking head for the council, marginalizing its important role as the voice of students. While the representatives are supposed speak on behalf of the student body, they now are accountable to the A.S. Council alone. Appointees are picked to represent all students, even the 80 percent of whom don’t bother to vote in the election of the A.S. Council; should the council decide to endorse an erroneous path, appointees now have no leverage to act in the best interest of students, including that 80 percent.

    The benefit of representatives is their ability to specialize in their field of expertise. But having the council overrule their discretion through edicts challenges the very purpose of having specialized individuals oversee the business of each committee.

    Requiring an oath is too extreme a measure. Rather, the problem lies with the selection process, which should be more in-depth and thorough. The original problem was the person appointed by the A.S. Council in 2004, and having an oath does little to assure that future appointees are more qualified. A representative on committees can offer a surfeit of ideas and expertise, which is a goal too valuable to stifle with oaths.

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