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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Don’t abstain, know the campaign

Published: March 28, 2008
Section: Opinions

With the exorbitant sums of money being spent on national campaigns in recent years, it is sometimes hard for voters to remember that their primary focus should not be on the flashiness of a candidate’s campaign, but rather on the candidate’s platform. Brandeis students should also keep this in mind when approaching the Student Union elections this Sunday. We encourage the student body to look past fancy websites, Facebook groups and a list of club endorsements and seek to educate themselves on the issues and the candidates’ respective beliefs.

As a student newspaper seeking to ensure that we are informing the community in an unbiased manner, we are not endorsing any candidates. Rather, we encourage you to listen to the raw information straight from the candidates, whether you are engaging with them personally during dorm-storming or listening to them debate on this newspaper’s website. We are not here to preach, but merely to give you the opportunity to look, listen, and decide.

The inundation of campaign fliers plastered across campus may cause candidates to blur together into a mess of bold-faced names, catchy slogans and smiling faces. However, hearing the candidates go head-to-head distinguishes one from the other and emphasizes their positions on a variety of issues. At the debates, each candidate laid out which issues (if any) are most important to her or him, and that is the information that you should have before you make your choice.

Some students may be quick to dismiss the impact of the Student Union, but the Union’s reach extends further than overseeing the activities of campus clubs and determining how the Student Activities Fee is spent. The events of this academic year have reaffirmed the effect that the Student Union can have on the student body. For instance, in response to student complaints about workers at the Boulevard routinely putting food away early, a Union committee gathered evidence and brought this issue to Aramark’s attention. There are many small advocacy issues such as this on which the Union can have a large influence.

The Union is by no means perfect, and too often grinds to a disappointing halt due to infighting and debates over parliamentary procedure, but that is not an adequate reason to dismiss the body altogether. If you want a better Student Union, you must demand a better Student Union. Apathy allows the Union to remain unaccountable for its actions, and breeds laziness from elected officials who feel they don’t have to answer to their constituents. Knowing that the student body is paying close attention and is judging the actions of individual Union members will create a new attitude within the entire Union institution.

Each candidate brings something different to this election, and has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to what the candidates have to say, judge them on the merits of their message, and vote. The Union will only be as good as the people that you determine are fit to run it.