Spring is here, and that means it’s time to decide who will be spending your money next year.
The end of the 2012-2013 school year will also mark the end of term for current Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College council. This may come as a relief to those who have been unsatisfied with the council’s performance this year. The question is, what are you going to do to ensure change?
Ideally, anyone with with strong beliefs on how a student government should function would run for office. However, we’re all students and not everyone has time for that; but everyone has time to vote.
If students don’t vote, we’re doomed to have a repeat of last year’s election. Last spring, only 340 students voted to elect three council members. Three more council members were then appointed (one of whom happened to be the spouse of one of the elected officials). So of the six council members who have been controlling thousands of dollars in student money, three of them were endorsed by a tiny fraction of the student body.
Whether this low turnout was a result of apathy or lack of awareness is unclear, but it is clear that we can’t let it happen again. The six members of ASCOCC represent us as a student body, so it is our responsibility to do what we can to make sure we are represented by the officials we selected. Not to mention, it’s our right to have a say in who is spending our money–why forgo that right?
Just like taxes, paying student fees is unavoidable. For every credit you take, you must pay an extra $1.50, which is placed under the control of ASCOCC; you don’t have a choice. However, you can choose three of the six people who will be spending that money. (Why do you only get to pick three of your government officials? Good question.) All of that money adds up, and the only way to ensure it’s spent in a way that benefits you is to vote. Be aware of who is running for council, and become familiar with their agendas and what they stand for. Know your candidates and be proactive about the future of your college experience.
Of course, I’m sure you’ll have help.
In fall 2012, ASCOCC launched a record-breaking campaign to register new student voters and encourage students to vote on issues that impacted them. This campaign included class visits and info tables amongst its strategies to raise awareness. I have no doubt that the council will pay similar non-partisan attention to promoting the ASCOCC election, encouraging all students to pick their favorite candidates and vote. Keep an eye out for information provided by entities like ASCOCC, Student Life and The Broadside so you will be aware of candidates, voting methods and deadlines.
It’s your money and it’s your college– shouldn’t you have a say?
Vote, COCC, vote!