It’s really unfortunate that there is only one candidate for both the SA presidential and vice presidential races this year.
Beau Carter is running unopposed for president, and Caleb Orr is running unopposed for vice president, but this year’s ballot box says more about how the ACU student body has changed than it does the candidates themselves.
Both Carter and Orr would probably tell you they wish someone would run against them. And that’s because they understand the importance of using student votes to get the best person in office.
How can students expect to put the best candidate for the job in the SA office if voters are having to settle for the only name on the ballot?
Well, technically, they don’t have to settle for that one name. There is always an option for voters to abstain from voting for an unopposed name on the ballot, which is one way of saying, “I dislike this candidate so much that I’m not going to just not vote for him, I’m going to show up to the polls and intentionally vote against him even thought there is no one better available.”
This sounds a little silly, but it might actually be something the candidates, Carter especially, should be concerned about. Last year, Carter ran for executive vice president unopposed, and about 32 percent of voters chose to abstain from voting for him. While that’s definitely nowhere close to a majority, it is surprising to think that 315 students went to the polls and intentionally chose not to have a VP rather than to elect him.
What the lack of opponents really says about our student body is that it’s changing. Student government has been the organization for student leaders for decades. Now, not so much.
It’s not because we don’t have student leaders, but it’s because we now have an abundance of places for student leaders to serve within their niches on campus. It’s surely not a coincidence that both of these candidates, and last year’s SA president (Dylan Benac) and the year before that (Rebecca Dial) and the year before that (Connor Best), were all political science majors.
Political science majors are drawn to serve in SA because it’s the organization on campus that most closely relates to their interests and passions. Just as student leaders who are business majors now have opportunities in COBA and Wildcat Ventures to lead (and make money), other departments and job opportunities specifically related to majors or students’ careers are being created on campus every year. This leaves SA to the poli-sci guys and everyone else pretty much doing their own thing.
The bottom line is that we want to accuse the student body of being apathetic, of not being able to produce another suitable candiate, but we can’t. We just have to acknowledge that the leaders we need have better places to be.