The Arizona Desert Lamp

ASUA Candidates: More Shame than Acclaim

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 20 February 2009

As future politicians realize that — horror beyond horrors! — they may be held to promises that they make, like lemmings they flee from solid statements towards a free-fall of sentiments and empty campaign rhetoric. 

Today’s addition to the Hall of Shame is Sarah Bratt, who, seemingly cowed by Mr. Elyachar’s exhortation in yesterday’s paper, has removed her name from the pledge that she priorly signed. It’s good to see that those vying to become future leaders have such strong willpower and independent ways of thinking. To be fair, this might mark the first time that a Letter to the Editor has actually spurred anyone into action, a fact that deserves at least some sort of notice.

So the tide has turned, and Shame is leading by a 2-1 score. Will the rest of the non-responsive candidates turn the tide for the students? Somehow, given the nature of the political beast, I’m not exactly optimistic.


20 Responses

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  1. Allison N said, on 20 February 2009 at 10:54 am

    I know Sarah Bratt personally and she is a great candidate for senate. I will be voting for her on Mar. 3rd. Everyone else who wants a good senate next year with intelligent and strong willed people should vote for her also.

  2. PZ said, on 20 February 2009 at 11:11 am

    I have never seen a more immature blog in my life! you guys are just bullies. I’ll vote for Sarah

  3. Jon said, on 20 February 2009 at 11:25 am

    To Allison: Sarah is a good person but that does not a good senator make. Like Aaron Elyachar Sarah’s youthful inexperience most likely led her to sign up for a pledge then when it was suggested that it was not politically expedient she reneged on it without hesitation. I want a senate that: A) knows what they are doing and B) Sticks by a decision when it is made.

  4. Becky said, on 20 February 2009 at 11:34 am

    Priorly? Free-fall of sentiments? Geez, maybe someone might want to focus on writing skills rather than campus politics.

  5. Juhyung said, on 20 February 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Keep up the good work guys. Everyone knows that unaccountability reigns, no matter where you go, but it’s good to have it all on the table!

  6. Laura Donovan said, on 20 February 2009 at 2:09 pm

    To PZ- This is not an immature blog. Evan examined Bratt’s decision. If you consider this “bullying,” you’re too easy on a potential ASUA Senator who should be strong minded enough to make independent decisions. Do you really want one of your future senators to be so easily influenced by others?

  7. JR said, on 20 February 2009 at 2:53 pm

    For those who are unaware of the confusion involved here, let me be clear:

    The letter that was sent out to the candidates was not, as Aaron put it, “forceful” in any way. It was, however, misleading. Nowhere in the letter did it say that the candidates would be bound to making any sort of decisions in either direction; it merely stated that they would agree to “support” the cause. It isn’t an issue of changing their minds; Aaron and Sarah, upon signing the ‘pledge,’ were unwilling to be bound to a certain way of voting (in either direction) without knowing what they were promising.

    If anything else, it shows their desire to do things right as Senators. The key here is that they wanted to make educated decisions and know exactly what they were deciding to follow. When they found out they weren’t aware of the full implications of the ‘pledge’, they decided to back out. It shows responsibility, and I know that I, personally, will be voting for both Aaron and Sarah as a result of this whole issue.

    • Connor Mendenhall said, on 20 February 2009 at 3:02 pm


      Again, if you’d like to see the letter we sent to candidates, it’s available here. Today, we emailed the candidates a list of common misconceptions to help clear up any further confusion. The pledge itself reads: “I pledge to the students of the University of Arizona that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase student fees for the duration of my term in office.” If any of this was unclear or misleading, we sure didn’t expect it.

  8. Shocked said, on 20 February 2009 at 3:20 pm

    The Arizona Desert Lamp does a superb job keeping updated with ASUA. It is unfortunate that candidates have made such serious mistakes so soon. I hope that they will be accountable for their actions. Someone who is a flipflop can’t be in office.

  9. Nick Jones said, on 20 February 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I don’t really mind her pulling out of it, since it’s before the elections. I’m more just sad that more people don’t share my viewpoint that increases to student fees right now are not what overburdened students need. I understand that it may sound extreme, but for me there is a reason there are ten senators. It’s an attempt to even out all the personal extremes each candidate has, and hopefully we’ll have a diverse enough senate that we will all keep each other honest by arguing out viewpoints at each meeting. At the same time, I feel that defending people just because you know them and therefor that the publishers are “bullies” is kind of middle school. I add to my platform with a pledge to take all possible steps to reduce drama whenever possible.

  10. Kyle Sandell said, on 20 February 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you Arizona Desert Lamp for being a voice of reason, helping keep us afloat in a maelstrom of insanity.

    I am in favor of no more fees, and see the letter from Mr. Mendenhall and Mr. Lisull as quite clear. And whatever Ms. Bratt’s opinion of it is, she previously signed on and now is backing out on her word. In my book, that makes her a liar and a person with low moral character. Someone I do NOT want representing me in any way.

    If pointing out inconsistencies in candidate statements and attempting to hold them accountable is “immature,” than I suppose the fascists have already won this round.

  11. Dave said, on 20 February 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I think we should vote based on which candidates would cause the most drama, Real World style.

  12. JR said, on 20 February 2009 at 6:08 pm

    To Connor and Friends-

    The fact is that ASUA runs off of those fees. However unpleasant they may be, the real issue should lie with how the UA Board is choosing to spend their money. A relatively small (though rising) fee is peas and carrots compared to the hundreds of millions we’re spending on buildings and facilities that we don’t need.

    It wasn’t the pledge itself that was misleading, it was the fact that the pledge wasn’t shown to the candidates word-for-word before it was signed. It wasn’t made clear throughout the entire process that it would be a binding promise, and this is the issue that the candidates have with this entire issue. It wasn’t explained in full what they were signing. Call it ignorance if you will, but as the instigators of this site, you should be more responsible with what you try to trick others into.

  13. Jimi Alexander said, on 20 February 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Again, is it somehow NOT better that the candidates are backing out of this thing now, very early in the campaign, rather than after the votes are tallied and these folks are elected? You don’t know Bratt or Elyachar, they may very well vote against fee increases without some blog offering them a blood oath. I think the Hall of Shame should be reserved for candidates who get elected to Senate with your pledge on their record and then subsequently act like it never happened, or make official statements in debate/Senate forum that blatantly contradict it. Then again, this will never happen, because nailing someone’s balls to the wall for having a change of heart is alright so long as it gets the Desert Lamp some publicity and hits. 12 comments is the most I’ve seen, so it looks like it’s done its job.

    Believe me: Sarah Bratt’s worthy of being Senator. And just because she backed out of the Lisull-Mendenhall Anti-Fee Blood Oath of 2009 doesn’t mean she’s not going to do a great job and possibly *audible gasp* vote against fee increases.

  14. Jon said, on 20 February 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Now now Jimi do you really expect us to take you at your word when you run the campaign of one Aaron Elyachar? If anything you are in scramble mode trying to do damage control so it must have been a god send that ANOTHER candidate for Senate reneged on their oath. And don’t say “We’ll I know Aaron and he ‘blank’ or he’s ‘blank'” Like I said earlier a good person does not a Senator make. He is not good at what he does nor is he half as intelligent as you say he is. Given time he may have been at one point a good candidate for Senate but from what he has shown in the last week that is doubtful. It is my sincere hope that neither Aaron or Sarah make it past the primaries. Here’s hoping the other 22 candidates are better.

  15. Dave said, on 20 February 2009 at 8:22 pm

    ASUA Spolilers: They’re not

  16. Shocked said, on 21 February 2009 at 12:16 am

    There has to be at least 10 senators out of all that are even somewhat good. I mean at least not everyone is in the Hall of Shame yet. The day before the election I will vote for whoever is NOT on the Hall of Shame.

  17. Trust me, Aaron and Sarah are guilty of the same mistake but nowhere near the same people. You can ask people that work with them but I am a more legitimate source than them. Sarah represents the type of new blood would should be promoting rather than chastising. ASUA elections are won by an elite few that are no more capable than a person like Sarah, but can win an election. Sarah and Aaron are not who we should be targeting by a long shot. Also, ASUA is mostly funded by the bookstore. Anyone dumb enough to overpay for books and get into debt with the University for convenience does not deserve the consideration for where his money goes. You want a book, you pay money, you get a book. If that money goes to something you don’t like that probably does not even effect you, its too bad because what you paid for was a book and not a student government, and thats exactly what you got. Many programs are funded by fees but ASUA as a whole can survive without the fees, it is certain initiatives that will suffer. So if you don’t want to pay the high cost for books, DONT. That is a much better way to hurt ASUA than crying foul or against these fees. But yo, low moral character? you probably read this story in between poppin one off watching some porn. These fees are driving y’all nuts. Libertarianism is like Marxism to me. Ideally, it should work for us. But at the end of the day, where can we apply it. Maybe Somalia?

  18. Shocked said, on 21 February 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I disagree with you “My homies….Cake” person. If my money goes to something I don’t like, it DOES effect me. It effects me because it is MY money. Why overcharge on books? I can get books elsewhere, but why should I have to? I want to buy my bookstore books and not have to worry about what ASUA is going to do with the excess. I don’t want to support beer cards for people in Rocky Point. And Im pretty sure the smart/aware people paying attention to this site are not “watching some porn” im pretty sure that is just you and obviously the candidates who signed the petition without understanding what they were commiting to.

  19. Garrett P. O'Hara said, on 21 February 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Indeed this is unprecedented promise-breaking. The only thing comparable is Daniel Rein’s candidacy of 2005, in which his sole campaign promise was to establish a student section in McKale Center, which was then established during the campaign, thereby causing him to have no campaign promises.

    On second thought, that actually made him a very trustworthy candidate.

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