It's surprising how easy it is to have $23,700 handed to you by simply filling out a form and getting five signatures. It's especially surprising to Matt Stambaugh, your newly acclaimed Students' Union President. What's more disconcerting, however, is that Stambaugh's acclamation stands among several others-nearly the entire SU, in fact.
Every single commissioner position was acclaimed. Besides the president, Robbie White was acclaimed for Vice-President Operations and Finance. Yes, there are races for VP Events, VP Academic and VP External, but of the 21 voting members on the Students' Legislative Council, 18 will never have to prove themselves to the greater student body via election. There isn't a "no vote" to prevent unqualified people from reaching office. Students have no choice. Ordinary students might not ever meet, see or hear anything about what any of these people have done, could do and will do, because few of these people will even take the time to poster campus.
Is this a gong show? That would be an understatement.
Fortunately, students are lucky that it was Matt Stambaugh and Robbie White who were acclaimed. Both are competent and experienced, and will likely do good jobs in office. They also deserve kudos for continuing their campaigns to a lesser degree, regardless of their acclamations and especially when they will not be reimbursed for campaign costs. But quite simply, you can never expect an experienced, well-prepared candidate to run for any position and, as this year's potentials demonstrate, not all the candidates are qualified. (Read our endorsement supplement on page 15 for more information.)
Stambaugh's reaction to the news was laughable. Apparently, he was "livid" about the results. To be fair, this is the only answer he could give while still attempting to look like a responsible politician. Realistically, his real reaction was probably more to the effect of "ecstatic," "thrilled" or, at the very least, "relieved." His position as president-albeit his qualifications are good-makes it humorous to have any sympathy for the guy.
Now that Stambaugh is acclaimed, one of the first changes he intends to enact is a "no vote" for at least the executive positions. It's a good first step in demonstrating that he takes his presidency seriously and wants to earn the credibility of students. It's also a great step in ensuring accountability within a SLC that is quickly putting the rest of the SU to shame. Stambaugh said it himself-the SU has been plagued by infighting over the years, and this year's council is one of the worst. The constant bickering seen in SLC makes it easy to forget what the SU is really about-student initiatives by students. But that's a whole other editorial and a whole other issue.
We at the Gauntlet look forward to next year's SU with a small glimmer of hope. Some of the candidates we interviewed this weekend demonstrate a lot of potential and that is precisely why they've earned our endorsements. Most of all, however, we implore you to vote carefully in next week's election. There are still races to vote in and several referenda questions that directly affect how much money you will pay next year. This year the SU has made it easier than ever to place your vote. Get informed by using all the information available to you. When most of campus doesn't even bother, your vote counts even more.