By Indy Staff in Opinion
The ASCC Appointments Committee released the identities of the 2013-2014 student government officers May 22.
However, the names and qualification statements of the candidates were not released to the public at any time during the appointments process.
This lack of transparency completely removes student body involvement and is a disservice to the candidates, who are, after all, applying for public positions.
Although the process of appointing ASCC officers, rather than through elections, is relatively new for the ASCC, any governing body should never fail to realize the importance of transparency within a decision of such significance.
The ASCC represents the views and interests of Clark College students. They also oversee the Services and Activities Fee Budget, a $1.6 million budget consisting entirely of student fees that fund more than 30 student clubs, programs and activities.
We at The Independent Editorial Board understand the reasoning for the change to an appointments process. The recent electoral history at Clark College for student government officers was a voter turnout of a mere 2 percent on average.
Nonetheless, we believe the student body has the right to know which candidates are vying for office well before they are chosen to represent us.
Last year college officials denied The Independent’s requests for the names and qualification statements of ASCC candidates because the applicants’ records are technically job applications and therefore exempt from public perusal.
We do not expect the ASCC to bring back elections because the reality is only a small percentage of Clark College students vote in student elections. However, as a service to Clark College students and the candidates themselves, the ASCC should be transparent and forthcoming about every stage in the appointments process.
The Independent Editorial Board strongly encourages the ASCC to restructure the appointments process as follows:
First, candidates should have to fill out an application, which would include the candidate’s name and qualification statement, to interview for an ASCC position. This application would not be an official job application and therefore wouldn’t violate any privacy laws by being released to the student body. This application and qualification statement should then be made available to the public, so that students who wish to voice concerns have ample time to do so.
Additionally, the interviews by the ASCC Appointments Committee must be open to the student body to ensure committee members are fair and represent the interests of Clark College students.
Finally, the ASCC Appointments Committee must acknowledge any appeals made by Clark College who disagree with the committee’s student government selections because the fundamental purpose of the ASCC is to “ensure an equal opportunity for participation and representation,” as stated in the preamble of its own constitution.
As our fourth national president and founding father of the United States Constitution James Madison said, “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
This editorial represents the views of The Independent Editorial Board. The members of this board include Jeff Knapp, opinion editor; Aleksi Lepisto, photo editor; Sophia Coleman, life editor; Evan Jones, copy editor; and Kyle Yasumiishi, editor-in-chief. The board members meet weekly to discuss an issue and adopt a unanimous viewpoint. The topic of the editorial remains undisclosed to The Independent staff and adviser.
The Independent Editorial Board