Running without the backing of a major student political party puts ASUC candidates at a financial disadvantage. Unsurprisingly, the authors of a defeated spending reform bill in the ASUC were third-party and independent senators. The bill received just a handful of votes because the major parties stood against greater transparency and equal access in ASUC elections.
While there are already restrictions on campaign expenditures for individual candidates, the bill would have placed a $500 limit on party expenses. Though there may have been legitimate concerns over the wording of the bill, these concerns should have been discussed, debated and resolved.
More transparency in the way the parties run their respective candidates’ campaigns only ensures fairer, more democratic elections. ASUC senators and executives should prioritize open elections over party dominance. Party leaders have an obligation to make elections more transparent, and failure to do so is unacceptable.
Although Student Action Senator Michael Bloch believes that the parties should be viewed in the same light as other student groups on campus, it is impossible to deny their strong foothold in student government.
A spending reform bill is both welcome and necessary for the advancement of accountability and transparency in the ASUC. Now that this initial bill has failed, we strongly urge the ASUC to consider amending or rewriting it in the upcoming year. This will ultimately lead to better representation through a more informed student body.
It is up to the parties to extend their level of service to the students they represent in the ASUC by passing a spending reform bill. Even if some of the concerns in the original reform bill are inadequately addressed, the parties need to find a solution and move forward. Failure to do so in the future implies that the parties prioritize maintaining majorities over ensuring accountability.
Transparency is absolutely necessary in all levels of government so that our leaders can be held responsible. It is now up to the incoming senators to accomplish what their predecessors failed to do: pass a spending reform bill in the spirit of transparency and better representation.