Thursday, March 02, 2006
Big Pimpin' and Student Elections on the 40 Acres...
In an attempt to get more work done, I have taken to leaving my house at strange hours in the evening and working at coffeeshops. Historically, I tend to be more productive at coffeeshops, mostly because I don't get distracted as easily or decide to quit reading theory and opt instead to crank up the M.I.A. and dance around my apartment.
But I digress.
As I was in the middle of working at JP's Java, I took a bathroom break and, as I am wont to do, took a copy of the paper, The Daily Texan, with me.
Tonight's lesson for me is that ignorance may indeed, truly be bliss. In reading the paper, I found that there are a great many things that I could stand to go without knowing if for no other reason than that I am infuriated by so many goings-on nowadays.
It is revealed that in the elections for Student Government one ticket, Impact, which has by far the strongest likelihood of winning, has spent a whopping $7,000 on campaign expenditures. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised, last year's winning ticket, Connect spent a disgusting $8,500 campaigning -- good job kids. If you're gonna swamp the competition, go for the gold! Now, forget the fact that these SG idiots have spent enough money on t-shirts, stickers, flyers, etc. to put a UT undergrad through three semesters of school. Forget the fact that their closest competition, I-ROC (Independent Renewal of Campus) spent only $650. Let's focus on the fact that they spent all of this fucking money to get elected to a governing body that is effectively a dog that is all bark and no bite. It's not like SG resolutions change the world and the miniscule representation that SG does manage to wrangle in administrative affairs at the University are, at best, milquetoast concessions that allow students to have dummy representatives on influential committees, etc.
Which leads me to my next source of frustration...
For years, UT students have lobbied for a student representative on the University of Texas System Board of Regents, the administrative body that decides the fate of every student in the UT System from Austin to El Paso to the Texas Panhandle. Our peer institutions such as the University of California System and the University of Michigan have had student reps for years. Well, after years of strategizing, setbacks, and struggle we finally got one. The Regents relented and agreed to have a student rep.
The compromise? The student regent would serve as a representative with no voting power. This concession, which Student Government acquiesced to, was a slap in the face to all of the students who have advocated for meaningful representation on this powerful Board. Still, in the end, a foot in the door, is a step in the right direction.
So since the student regent can't vote, what does he get? Our current rep, Brian Haley (more on that some other day), is the proud owner of a brand new Blackberry. Now he can use state-of-the-art technologically to schedule dates for all the meetings that he won't be able to vote at -- SWEET! In addition to this slamming consolation prize, Haley also enjoys perks such as a parking pass for every UT system school and free tickets to a number of University events. Evidently these are perks that all of the regents receive because they are not paid for sitting on the board. I could explain why this explanation is a farce but just check out the Board's website at http://www.utsystem.edu/bor/regents.htm and you'll see why. All of these cats are up to their longhorns in wealth.
I can't help feeling that somehow the interests of UT students have been totally pimped out and our right to representation has been quietly tucked away and replaced with a Blackberry and free courtside seats.
In any case, I have officially decided that perhaps in the interests of maintaining my overall mental and emotional well-being, I had better stick to reading the Texas Travesty or Mad Magazine when I'm in the john. At least that way, I'll know the material I'm reading was meant to be a joke.