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Note from a College Democrat:
If you are not paying very much attention to this spring’s CUSG elections, you probably are unaware of what happened last week.
Last week, College Democrats at CU voted to endorse the INSPIRE ticket as opposed to the UNITE ticket, the self proclaimed “progressive ticket.” As a result of endorsing INSPIRE, which has been deemed the “conservative ticket,” the group, as well as myself, faced heavy backlash. Candidates from the UNITE ticket as well as their supporters took it upon themselves to post their concerns as well as their frustration with our decision via social media.
In this election, I have heard from multiple members from both parties on both a casual and personal level, as well as in a more professional manner via the debates. We instructed both parties to present their platform and answer our questions. There were two main differences between the parties.
The first was that the UNITE ticket was extremely focused on advocating for student issues on the state level in front of the state legislature while the INSPIRE ticket wanted to focus more on student issues here on campus. The second difference was that while both parties wished to decrease the cost of college, UNITE was determined to lobby the state legislature in order to increase the university’s budget and work with faculty to offer free textbooks online. On the other hand, INSPIRE wanted to focus on lowering student fees and being more efficient in the allocation of funds to student organizations.
As a result, we based our decision on two points. The first being that we felt that with a consistently low voter turnout as well as no evidence of high student outreach, it was not the place of CUSG to lobby on behalf of the student population of over 35,000. The second was that we believed that INSPIRE’s goals were more attainable. Since CUSG has direct control over student fees, and that is what INSPIRE was focused on, they were more likely to decrease the cost of college.
The backlash that we received because of our decision was because we were “supposed” to endorse the UNITE ticket since INSPIRE was the “conservative” ticket. We did not feel the same way. The INSPIRE ticket consists of people who are both Republicans and Democrats and do not take a stance on state and national politics.
There is truth to UNITE’s philosophy that we should not ignore specific opinions on state and national issues that an individual might hold. When a student is elected to such office, he or she does hold more weight in their opinions on the state and federal level. However, I would hope that, when you do vote, you place a priority on students’ opinions on student issues over state and federal issues.
This week, you have a real opportunity to influence what happens on your college campus. It does not get any more representative than this. Do not waste this chance because representation becomes only more and more distant as time goes on. However, when you do go to vote, do not vote for one party or the other because one is more relatable to the Democratic Party or one is more relatable to the Republican Party. The issues on our campus are neither Democratic nor Republican issues. They are student issues and should be perceived as such.
I hope you vote. I hope you participate. I hope you make your voice heard on your campus. Most importantly, I hope you make your choice based on this notion: This is not a choice between Democrats and Republicans. This is a choice between INSPIRE and UNITE. Happy voting, everyone.
Contact President of CU Democrats Zach Silverman at Zachary.firstname.lastname@example.org.