Consider School-wide Elections

Graphic+by+Connie+Zhou+%2712

Graphic by Connie Zhou ’12

Inklings Editorial

Graphic by Connie Zhou '12

In September 1952, the student government of Staples held a meeting to determine whether smoking should be allowed in school. An Inklings writer reported at the time that “there were no faculty members present at the assembly.” After organizing and presiding over the meeting, the student government organized a secret ballot for the students.

There is no doubt that the Stapleites of 1952 were, at the very least, aware of their student government.  There is also little doubt that many of them felt affected by their student government, just as there is little doubt that many of those Stapleites also had faith in their student government.

The same cannot be said for the Staples students of today.  In a recent Inklings poll, 98 percent of students said that they did not care about Student Assembly elections.  It’s clear that to day, our student government plays a less prominent role in the lives of students.  We can quibble about how much the SA really accomplishes, we believe that their election process contributes to the general lack of interest in the Staples student body.

Candidates for the SA have no campaigns.  They do not explain their platforms to the student body.  They do not address the public.  The majority of students’ introduction to their candidates is via a voting ballot.  And because the students have nothing but name recognition to base their vote on, the election devolves into a popularity contest.

The SA’s faculty advisor, Gertrude Denton, said that the danger of a popularity contest was a major reason for not opening SA board elections to the entire student body.  Working to avoid that is a noble goal.  However, without campaigns for the general elections, a much greater popularity contest has been created and therefore the democratic process is impeded.

The Staples SA should consider school-wide elections, where candidates campaign and introduce platforms. Without these vital parts of an election, voters cannot make the right decision.