Editorial: It's a Vote, Not a Poll: 2002 ASUC Propositions



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Past propositions on the ASUC ballot have created serious change-after all, they are supposed to be measures important enough to require the vote of the entire student body.

Half the propositions on this year's ballot simply didn't belong there. This year's ballot saw a slew of superfluous measures, insults to the gravitas usually carried by a proposition.

Propositions, by nature, should carry respect for the power they exert. Not the sort of ephemeral legislation passed by a quickly changing student government, instead propositions are a forum for instituting change that will last.

Every proposition on last year's ballot carried at least some weight, and two were potentially revolutionary.

Proposition 2 raised mandatory student activity fees by $17.50. The fund it created has significantly affected the student group funding process.

Another proposition last year sought to bar the recognition of ASUC political parties, which would have, for good or ill, drastically changed student politics at this university. Though this failed, it shows the potential power of the proposition.

As for making drastic changes, back in 1978, ASUC senators tried to place a whole new constitution on the ballot for voter consideration. Because of some legal squabbling between the ASUC attorney general and the senate (sound familiar?), the new constitution was later given its own referendum a month after the general election. There it failed to pass.

Admittedly, there may not have been major, fundamental changes needed in ASUC this year-but half this year's propositions disgrace the memory of such monumental efforts.

Proposition B asked for student opinion on extension student housing priority. Propositions I and G asked for student opinion regarding aspects of research on animals. Proposition E is a carefully worded endorsement of affirmative action.

These are worthy issues, but the problem is that none dictated any action. Words like "should" replaced the words needed in propositions, like "will" and "creates."

These are nothing more than polls of student opinion, not propositions. The laughable proposition F, asking students whether or not they read the ASUC Monthly, exemplifies this.

Instead of pointlessly polling students, use propositions for action. Proposition 5 last year established an ASUC advisory committee on an important environmental issue instead of just gathering opinion.

If a poll must be conducted, create an add-on section of polling questions. But such frivolous and powerless questions discredit the importance of other propositions. Return ASUC propositions their dignity, don't disgrace them with frivolity.

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