As The World Burns: The DASB Drama Pt. 2 – 5/14/2010

The De Anza Associated Student Body election may be over, but the clash of conflicts is about to begin. Two factions will be fighting for power and control of a million dollar budget in the weeks to come. Regardless of the result, it will be the students who will lose out.

With the voting being done online only, this election catered to the needs of a small minority. Unless you’re a student who has been active on campus, it’s difficult to know what is going on.

For the average student, this is an issue of great concern, since that million dollar budget is supported by the nickels and dimes in our pockets. It’s also more devious that we could have opted out during registration, had we been aware. Hence, we have been conned into funding this elite club in which we have little say.

Sure, members of the DASB are elected officials of a democratic process, but it’s only democratic in the loosest definition possible. Besides only a few people participating in voting, candidates face the penalty of losing votes based on the most trivial infractions at the grievance meetings.

This committee, which is responsible for deciding if coalitions violated election rules, composed of current DASB officials who have their own special interests to protect. There are no third-party officials who could have an open mind to the hearing – just friends trying to protect friends.

Let’s recap: an elite club enters power, based on the votes of a few, while the majority (who pay for the fun) are unaware of the issue, while any opposition is suppressed by a committee with members who have something to gain. Obviously, there needs to be an overhaul of the system.

First, the senate needs a stronger check and balance system that gives more power to the students. An upper house needs to be set up where its members consist of average students. This “house of students” will be responsible to vote on measures proposed by the elected Senate.

The “house of students” could be a political science class with members serving for one quarter as a requirement for passing. Like how intercultural studies introduces worldly culture to students, this “house of students” class will do the same for civic participation.

Second, the election system needs to be reformed where ethics violations are punishable by disqualification before voting. The committee responsible for it should consist of student and administration, with all decisions requiring a majority vote.

Let us stop lying to ourselves that our student government is a democracy. If needed reform is not enacted, then students are taught that unethical actions like gerrymandering are acceptable. In the end, we could just grow up to see our world burn.

Published for La Voz Weekly
5/14/2010
Original Link: As The World Burns: The DASB Drama Pt. 2

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About Stan Rezaee
I'm a writer from San Jose who has contributed to several online and print publications.

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