BOE extends dates to run for SG office
The AU Board of Elections held an additional mandatory information session last night after extending the deadline to run for Student Government executive positions because fewer than 30 people had shown up for previous sessions, according to BOE Chair Joe Pavel.
Pavel said the lack of interest by AU students was "an extremely unfortunate situation."
The small initial showing of potential candidates did not even adequately fill what would make an uncontested ballot if all potential candidates ran for varying spots within the 36 SG available positions, Pavel said.
Because of the poor turnout of potential candidates for SG executive, class and school council positions, an additional information session was added to take place yesterday in hopes of attracting more potential candidates. Voting, which was originally scheduled for March 1 and 2, has now been postponed until March 5 and 6, Pavel said.
The additional information attracted a more diverse pool of candidates. Previously, most of the people who were interested in running for SG positions had been Caucasian males, according to Carrie Johnson, SG secretary.
"I'm impressed with the turnout," Johnson said. "I know there has been talk about how we are trying to stir up diversity. For the Student Government to be a legitimate body, we should be reflective of the campus community. I think we have a wider range of diverse backgrounds now."
JoAnna Smith, director of Women's Initiative, who works under the supervision of the SG president, had said she feared a non-diversified SG might overlook female issues, such as sexual abuse awareness on campus. In addition, she said a non-representative SG might possibly inadequately address issues that affect ethnic minorities on campus.
"The Student Government has over $400,000 to spend throughout the school year," Smith said. "It is the people who are in control of the budget that decide where the money goes and what polices get to be undertaken."
In having such a large amount of money to create positive events and changes for the AU campus, Johnson said a SG consisting only of similar people with similar goals would not be a good thing, because it would allow for a higher possibility of the more diverse sectors of the campus' population to be ignored. She said it is necessary to have a well-rounded SG in order to more properly benefit the campus at large.
To try to reach the sectors of AU that have been underrepresented in the SG in the past, the BOE tried to reach out to students by sending e-mails to the Multicultural Affairs office and the Women and Politics Institute, telling them to inform their members of yesterday's information session, Pavel said.
Amy Cochran, a freshman in the College of Art and Sciences, said she felt the problem is that joining the SG is only advertised to freshman in the fall.
"I cannot even remember seeing a sign mentioning the coming of the elections," she said.
Cochran said many students are more interested in national, rather than campus, politics.
"I don't think the poor candidate showing makes us any less politically active necessarily, it is just that a lot of American University students think of politics beyond the institution and they tend to focus their attention on that," Cochran said.
Johnson said she felt the larger turnout at last night's meeting was due to the BOE's networking campaign.
"I attribute our success tonight to targeting different departments on campus, schools, clubs in general," she said. "I think that was a good network way where different student leaders department heads were able to encourage students and give them that extra push to come out here tonight."
A SG networking meeting will be held Feb. 22 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in MGC 200.
Eagle Staff Writer Jimm Phillips
contributed to this report.