It’s almost springtime again, and that means IU Student Association elections are just around the corner.
As a senior who has sat through three of these lackluster shows, let me give you a little preview of how things are going to go and how little say we actually have.
First, there are going to be the jokers.
These tickets might have a point to make, want to raise a fuss or promise chocolate fountains and free money for all students without offering solutions. Bonus points awarded here for getting on the ballot.
Second, there are going to be the serious tickets. Signs to watch for include names based around the “strong action verb for IUSA” template and an actual Facebook page.
These tickets get bonus points for feature posts of business-casual wearing candidates doing power stances in front of the Sample Gates or Assembly Hall taken courtesy of their one friend’s DSLR camera.
Serious IUSA tickets take IUSA personally, so watch for websites filled with tabs on policy.
Requirements include dense walls of text and repeated topics across the tickets.
Based on the past three years, hot buzzwords this year will probably focus on diversity and inclusion, sustainability, safety and mental health.
This is not to diminish the severity of these issues, but the tickets simply agree on the problems without differing on or even offering solutions to them in the first place.
For a fun exercise, try putting the tickets’ platforms side-by-side to see if you can find any differences. Bonus points for you if you can.
Then comes election season. After a month or so of your Facebook friend from Spanish freshman year who was promised an IUSA congressional subcommittee vice-chair post on one ticket attacking another forgotten Facebook friend from your marketing class junior year who is dating another ticket’s presidential candidate, Election Day will come. IU will finally vote and the students’ voice will be heard as a new administration calmly takes control and gets to work.
After Election Day, get ready for another few weeks of slogging through a quasi-legal process before the IUSA Supreme Court, which has the real final say on the election. Accusations of voter fraud, improper electioneering and campaign finance violations will fly between the serious tickets and ranks of Wikipedia lawyers will argue before the court.
The IUSA Supreme Court is a panel of 11 students who have the terrible burden of interpreting a school election code that has all the clarity and objectivity of Apple’s fair use policy.
As part of this code, the court can deduct percentages of vote totals based on campaign “violations,” so it has the power to affect outcomes.
In 2015, for example, the court changed the winning ticket of the election based on a miniature pony and a few boxes of T-shirts.
IUSA can be better than this. IU deserves an election system that is decided by students, not an unelected committee.
IU deserves an election code that allows tickets the freedom to spread their message without fear of losing an election.
Most importantly, IU deserves candidates that go beyond consensus on problems and offer bold visions for our future as a university and student body.