The Mark Side of UCSB: A.S. Needs to Tell It As It Is

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Student government is a joke. Not because of its irresponsible actions, though I’m sure somebody can point out examples, but rather because of Associated Students’ lack of attempts to inform the student body on how their government works.

I’ve been going to this university for a long time and I still have only the most rudimentary knowledge of the way A.S. works. What most people think of when it comes to A.S. is brightly colored shirts, retardedly large campaign signs and a handful of events courtesy of the Program Board. It’s basically high school all over again. I’ve talked to enough students already to know.

Obviously, that’s not a fair representation of the hardworking people we voted for. They organize activities concerning social issues and deal with menial bureaucratic tasks, like funding student organizations, that no one else is willing to do. But how are students to know? Sure, A.S. has a functional website, an obese constitution and is frequently reported on in Nexus news articles, but honestly, who has time to keep up by reading each and every one of these sources?

The best way is to get information straight from the horse’s ass, or mouth. I doubt the average A.S. officer or student has enough time for a one-on-one conference, but the organization as a whole could do a better job of keeping students up-to-date. Hell, it could be as simple as writing a regular column for the Nexus opinions section. As much as I admire my coworkers’ reporting on Finance Board and Legislative Council, it’s still an outsider’s point of view. I would appreciate it even more if somebody that’s actually in A.S. writes in with his or her perspective.

Take a look at Mark Signa and his “Question Authority” column. Not everyone may respect the presence or opinion of the law in Isla Vista, but at least he tries to inform students on what they’re doing wrong and how to prevent trouble. A.S. needs to do something similar. People may question their integrity, but at least this way they can understand A.S. reasoning. Looking through the Nexus archives, I discovered that many years ago there were people in A.S. willing to dedicate time every week to submit a column. Would it be that hard to find someone willing to tell it as it is?

It seems like the only time A.S. writes in is when they either have an agenda they want people to vote for or they’re reacting to some article or staff editorial that somehow offends their precious ideals. Well, it’s almost time to vote on GOLD, and the Nexus staff delivered their editorial on Wednesday. I can almost feel the collective rage of A.S. as they prepare for this year’s opening salvo. At the same time, I know that once voting is over and their passion dies down, we’ll hear nary a peep from them once again.

I challenge A.S. to write in to the Nexus on a long-term basis. I want somebody to take that extra step to explain the various intricacies of our student government. Sure, it’s possible for anybody to look up this information online, but doesn’t A.S. also have the responsibility to keep its constituents informed? We, as students, need to be interested and knowledgeable about the issues and organizations that affect us.

If A.S. needs to find a reason to write in every week, I’m more than willing to fire them up. I’m calling all you A.S.-holes out. Know your role and shut your damn mouth about how the Nexus is misrepresenting your rudy-poo asses. OPP, SP, SAC, SUN, WB, UPN, CW, I don’t care what you clowns want to call yourselves. You might as well break a bottle over my head because those preschool posters and wooden signs don’t convey your intentions in any intelligible way. You’ve got 700 words to get your message across. If you fail something as simple as that, then you don’t deserve to be at this university. And if you’re not down with that, then I’ve got two words for you: raise awareness.

Daily Nexus art director Mark Batalla could really use an A.S. hug right now, or at the very least an A.S. finger snap of approval.


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