The Arizona Desert Lamp


Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 17 November 2008

That’s the only question I have after reading this in the Wildcat:

Bruce said the process would be run through ASUA, which would conduct student tuition surveys on a yearly basis.

“And within that survey we would give (students) the opportunity to distinguish exactly what their priorities are, and then specifics within that priority.”

Bruce said an example would be if advising is a top three priority, it may then lead to more money allocated for advising or hiring more advisers, “so we could have more accessibility to our advisers as students.”

Connor, of course, has already thrown down this gauntlet. But I would ask the question with a slightly different twist. Right now, the solution to any major issue on campus, whether it be tuition money usage, security issues, or sustainability measures, is a survey of the student body. So where does ASUA come in? Why not simply have the Statistics Department administer student body surveys, to ensure a degree of professionalism, and implement the policies that are approved?

With all due respect, only a madman (or madwoman, lest I be subject to “training” from the Women’s Resource Center) would propose such a form of governance. Direct democracy may work on a very, very small (i.e. New England village) level, but it generally devolves into a ochlarchy on any higher level. Representative officials, while representing the community generally, should not be slavishly beholden to the opinions of the 51 percent. Instead, that representative must use right reason and act in the best interests of that community. Thus, representatives will see the economic flaws behind the popular “gas tax holiday,” and will reject actions which sound nice but which cannot work.

What we have here in ASUA is a failure of leadership. Rather than taking the tough decisions on their own shoulders, they have sent that decision-making power back to the people who delegated them. This rule by poll is the weakest, most craven leadership of them all.


One Response

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  1. Evan Ravitz said, on 18 November 2008 at 7:54 am

    Switzerland has had hybrid direct/representative democracy for centuries (nobody wants pure direct votes on every little thing) and is a HUGE success, hardly an ochlarchy.

    Checks and balances are good. So most people want direct AND representative democracy. Except politicians, the people who buy them, and the lobbyists between.

    The most evolved project for a hybrid direct/representative democracy is led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. Registered voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the Legislatures wouldn’t!

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