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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Give Us a Sign

    The Polity elections, which began on April 22 and end this Thursday, are usinga new approach: voting over the internet. Unfortunately, it seems to be thesame old story, as Polity has not promoted these elections any better than inpast years.

    While we do not have the polling results as of press time, just by lookingaround the campus, it is evident that polity has not made a concerted effortto get the word out about the new elections. While many of the candidates haveflyers advertising the vote, we have not seen any signs around campus from politytelling students what polity is and informing students of the website they haveto go to for the elections.

    Many students may not be familiar with polity and its function. It is the dutyof polity to explain this to students in a concise way, come election time.For those who do not know, polity is the student government of the university.Polity collects the student activities fee that all students pay at the beginningof the semester and distributes the money to clubs and organizations on campus.

    Polity has faced difficult times in the past two years, as accusations of allegedextortion and allegations of fixed elections have given polity a bad reputation.Polity has not had a decent voter turn-out in the past year, and Fred Preston,their adviser, is becoming impatient with the student government and its inabilityto reach the students and follow their bi-laws appropriately.

    We were hoping these elections would be a redemption of sorts for polity. Theidea of voting on-line was new and innovative and the students involved in thedebates made important points. However, polity did not follow through with theirpromises to increase student awareness of the elections.

    The debates were poorly attended and there were no signs around campus postedspecifically by polity to promote the on-line election. Polity needs to stepup and reach the students more broadly.

    NYPIRG and many of the polity candidates have the right idea, as putting upflyers and passing out leaflets is a great way to get an organization’#146;smessage across. Polity, as a whole, needs to do these things as well. Polityrepresentatives should be at the doors of the Student Union, and all acrosscampus, handing out flyers and letting the students know who they are, whatthey stand for, and why they should vote. This interaction would give a morepersonal aspect to Polity and would inform those who may not even know whatpolity is.

    The problem with polity is the division within the student government, whichresults in the difficulty of coming to compromises. Debate in governmental organizationsis very productive and essential to an extent, but when it hinders that governmentfrom accomplishing its goal of serving and informing those they represent, noone benefits.

    While polity wonders why students do not turn out for the vote, and tend toblame it on student apathy, polity itself, by not trying harder to inform thestudent population of their role as student representatives and the importanceof the elections, are proving to be one of the most apathetic organizationson campus.

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