Let’s get the ball rolling on reforming the Elections Committee

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Chad Workman and the new Executive Council are planning reforms in the coming year. Photo courtesy of Chad Workman

Amidst all the scrapping and riffing and finger-pointing between Team Exelerate and Team Aspire, Team Impact stayed calm, sat quietly and won this year’s election. But Chad Workman, who will officially become UVUSA’s Student Body President on Graduation Day, doesn’t intend to remain quiet during his tenure in student government.


“I was actually disappointed when I saw the voter turnout from this year,” Workman said. “And, maybe this is too ambitious on my part, but I think the record is 15 percent voter turnout – I wanted to break it.”


The keyword here is ambitious. Honestly, if Team Impact wanted to, they could probably get away with the sort of shenanigans that plagued Team Innovate’s term in office – ambiguity, a lack of communication and a sort of self-imposed quarantine from the student body’s general awareness.


But Impact’s whole philosophy is based on an idea of accountability and involvement that we haven’t seen from our elected representatives in previous years. This goes right down to their name, which is meant to read as “I Impact UVU” – a call for students to work towards changing the institution for the better.


“We’re already going out to different organizations and actively recruiting,” Workman said.


At the time of my discussion with Workman, UVUSA had not yet met to officially discuss their plan of action for the 2012-13 school year. However, that didn’t mean that plans hadn’t already been set in motion. One initiative Workman seemed especially fond of is a sort of “Return and Report” forum with the student body at large.


“We obtained all this information from students,” Workman said. “We asked them ‘What can UVVU do for you?’ We plan on addressing as many of these concerns as possible every month and then coming back and reporting to students through the UVU Review. I think that shows transparency. It shows concern and reliability. To kind of go along with what everyone has been saying, that’s been lacking.”


One issue that many students have expressed concern over is the formation of an independent Elections Committee. The Elections Committee, which oversees each team running for student office has, traditionally, been an insider’s game.


Many times the students on the committee have been working alongside incumbent candidates for an entire year. The incestuous nature of the UVUSA’s Elections Committee in years past has led many students to worry about possible biases in favor of incumbents.


Workman acknowledges the need for an independent Elections Committee. “I understand the people’s point of view when they say ‘Look, everyone on this Elections Committee is on UVUSA.’ Even though there may not be questionable things happening, let’s avoid the appearance.”


But, if Team Impact is going to reform the inner workings of student elections, they’re going to have to act fast. A proposed independent elections committee has to be formed and voted on by Aug. 1, in order for it to be established before the new school year begins.


Such a reform may even require a change in the school’s constitution. If that is the case, UVU’s student body has five weeks to assemble and vote on the proposed amendment.


Team Impact needs to get started as soon as they can. In fact, it will essentially make or break student confidence in UVUSA, which, at this point, is shaky at best.


Every year we talk about reforming our Elections Committee. Some years we’re louder about it than others. Some years it’s merely a mention. But every year, the issue comes up and every year it remains unaddressed.


Honestly, it’s nice that people like former Student Body President Richard Portwood will send the UVU Review a letter calling for an independent Elections Committee. But this is not such a revolutionary concept that we’ve only just now thought of it.


If Impact’s platform is indeed centered upon transparency and accountability, they will do everything in their power to get this project out of the theoretical mire and make it a reality.


Workman seems to agree.


“Honestly, the sooner we get the ball rolling on this, the better,” Workman said.


By John-Ross Boyce
Opinions Editor

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