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College Matt-ers: Student Senate party platforms need some work
A party platform is essential for any serious Student Senate campaign trying to articulate its message to the student body, but on the whole this year’s platforms are… underwhelming.
Platforms are important because they allow students to evaluate whether or not their elected senate did what it said it would to do. Glancing at last year’s winning ticket, VOICE, it is hard to find any campaign promises that were actually fulfilled. Ping Center remains smoothie bar-less, and no performers will be gracing The Convo this spring.
For that reason, I am skeptical that One, the quasi-incumbent party, will actually follow through on its platform if elected. Despite having the platform with the highest word count, One’s platform follows a cookie-cutter model of past insider tickets, with the perfect combination of familiar platitudes and vague promises.
One uses buzzwords like “unification,” “education” and “safety,” but these planks can probably best be summed up in their promise to have “members of Student Senate do their jobs properly.” Inspiring rhetoric, to say the least.
Also curious is its pledge to implement campaign reform, as conveniently no one in One so much as proposed a campaign-reform resolution last year.
I take the most issue with One’s plan to take a survey of student feedback on the guaranteed tuition model and then have senate take an official stance, because One does not have a declared opinion of its own. Considering the Board of Trustees already voted to implement the “OHIO Guarantee” for the 2015-16 year, the time for senate to pass a for-or-against resolution was months ago.
Action appears to be trying to carve out its position as the moderate ticket, bringing both experience and a genuine commitment for change. Sadly, it seems disorganized and has thus far failed to articulate its ideas in any meaningful manner. I could not find its platform anywhere online, which makes it hard to evaluate what it will do once in office.
It would be wise for Action to present a more substantial platform soon if it wants to remain relevant in the campaign.
Restart’s platform does exist and is perhaps the most progressive, as it introduces both ideas and people that we have not seen in senate before. Open voting membership to all students, democratically elected student trustees and organizing protests are all intriguing proposals that carry weight and would give students the opportunity to participate in their student government more than one election every April.
However, Restart’s refreshing rhetoric is still light on details. For example, Restart wants to implement a “participatory budget model,” but it is unclear what exactly that would entail. Student organizations need to know that they can still access their money for programming next year, and a radically different budget model without much explanation does not inspire confidence.
Hopefully, the debates will allow the tickets to better differentiate themselves during the coming weeks, but in the meantime, they should clarify their platforms and fix the egregious typos.
Matt Farmer is a senior studying political science and education. Which ticket’s platform appeals to you the most? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.