Two presidential candidates failed to show up on time. Generously, no more than ten people attended the event. The candidates that did show up were the typical “when I am elected…” promises, which included “desegregation of campuses,” “child care,” and “tuition freezes.” In the fifty-six minutes filled with countless “ums” and furrowed eyebrows toward competitors, the sparse attendees asked few questions, and one was even perusing hard-drives on Google images. Generally, students did not particularly come off as interested, which does not seem like the most supportive environment for these fresh faces to be embraced by.
In particular, some claims by presidential candidates were a bit problematic, such as the “desegregation” of the UW campuses. Segregation is historically a very oppressive construct, I do not think that being unable to wait in the student line at football games is so oppressive that you get to call it segregation. I might even suggest that if you want to wait in the student line, you simply transfer to the Seattle campus.
When the Q&A portion of the forum began, once one contender promised something, so did everyone else. If a question was not specifically asked of one person, then it seemed that nearly every candidate had something to say on the matter, and if they could not think of an answer they regurgitated what another had stated, specifics of which you can find in the fifty-six minute recording on ASUWT’s Facebook page.
Amidst the unlikely promises of “better parking” there was one candidate, amongst a few others, that came off quite earnest and expressed his desire once in office to protest the unjust practices of the detention facility across from the UWT campus on Pacific Avenue, something we do not hear promised often. Omer Adam was referring specifically to detained individuals being underpaid for their labors within the facility.
It is my sincere hope that these candidates, however unlikely, can follow through with their claims, but many, especially those that they are going to improve structural constraints such as parking, are simply going to forget. What we really need is interconnectedness. The Diversity Resource Center, Student Activities Board and Associated Student Union hardly communicate, and when they do it is often to feud over the budget allocation. If these communications were occurring, then we would certainly see far more student involvement and less of the clique culture that is widely observed to emerge in these branches.
My advice to those elected: Be real, connect, and show that you want these positions for more than a boost to your resume.