Editorial | Abolish the UA
March 30, 2014, 10:40 pm · Updated March 31, 2014, 12:28 am·
T he Undergraduate Assembly is beyond repair.
It would make little difference if the Interfraternity Council were able to mount a takeover of the failing student government, or if there were a sudden increase in interest during this week’s UA election. The undergraduates of this UNIVERSITY do not and should not respect a political body which wields little power.
The UA has squandered its authority and responsibility to the student activities council and the nominations and elections committee. In this quest for a balance of power, the UA surrendered the most important tools needed to represent effectively. The UA is no longer a viable medium for political change and discourse on this campus. It is also an embarrassment to all undergraduates who attend our Ivy League University.
The average student probably knows little ,if anything, about the UA, and even if they do, they show no indication that they care. At Sunday’s UA Candidate press conference, fewer than 10 observers attended. Even UA chairman Keith Wasserstrom missed the event.
Do you remember the name of last year’s UA Chairman? The chairman from two years ago? Can you name two UA subcommittees, or more importantly what they accomplished?
Whether it’s student apathy or UA ineffectiveness, our current student government has a reputation that hinders its ability to act. The administration does not take it seriously. UA members coward from fighting tuition increases, probably the most important issue affecting undergraduates, because members knew the trustees do not respect them enough to listen.
Anything less than a complete restructuring to the UA would be futile and the time has come to end the futility.
The creation of a new student government will be no simple task and will require students to take the first step. We would have hoped that the UA would realize its ineptitude. But denial is one of its only traditions. The onus is on undergraduates to initiate this overhaul.
In order to abolish the UA, 200 undergraduates must call for a referendum and 15 percent of the student body must then participate. We are asking you to sign a statement backing such a vote. Clip out and complete the petition below and send it through intramural mail to: NEC Chairman, UA/NEC Office Houston Hall, Intramural Code 6306.
Once the UA is voted down, the undergraduates could send about creating a new student government. At a convention open to all undergraduates, students could present ideas and possible structures for the new government. The Daily Pennsylvanian or some multi-interest group could publicize the proposals and present them to student body for consideration. Eventually, the students should have the final say in their form of representation.
The plan is far-reaching and will require the energy of many people but to start it take sone letter. Everyone, especially the DP, has criticized the Undergraduate Assembly. Now, it is time to go further. Help us make undergraduates a more important force on campus.
This editorial is from a 1989 issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian. It’s good to know how much has changed since.