AS: same as it ever was

by Joe Stewart

Mr. Vice President,

I won’t bother with addressing your misguided claims against The Daily Aztec, as I feel Ruthie Kelly did a fine job of clarifying the paper’s position. I will instead focus on your weak defense of Associated Students and your clearly misguided frustration.

You claim Associated Students works hard to publicize itself to the student body. What I have seen, however, is that A.S. publicizes its pet projects and other superficial feats while neglecting to publicize anything of real substance. Exactly how much did your office spend on the single “vote” banner and 10 to 15 small A-frames around campus? How much funding went toward publicizing a one-hour “debate?” Once students logged onto WebPortal, what efforts were made to create a seamless, simple voting process? How much did your office really do to make students aware of the elections or facilitate a forum whereby students could come to know the depth and qualifications of the candidates?

You say what can be known of my qualifications merely by my slogan, “Because I give a f—?” I would ask the same of the other candidates. What can be known by “Leadership you can count on” or “More than just talk?” How can students make an informed decision based on only this?

Instead of applauding The Daily Aztec and the Opinion section for doing the job you and yours seemingly can’t, you bastardize them for “unfair coverage.” I encourage you to read again the election coverage of the week and see that every candidate was addressed, some of them several times. Is the root cause of your frustration that the paper didn’t have nice things to say about everyone?

Had you and yours challenged yourselves to provide ample campaign time to candidates and a viable means for students to access information about them, The Daily Aztec Opinion section would not have had to devote so much time to coverage. The paper did exactly what the press is intended to do; it called into question several shortcomings within the government and for accountability. Instead of rising to the occasion and acknowledging there is much A.S. could do more effectively, you tout your “hard work.”

I may write for The Daily Aztec, but I don’t have the luxury of garnering blind support because of my affiliation. As Tom Hammel so eloquently said, “…we [Opinion writers] are a hard group of people to convince.” This group supported me because they see the incessant game of “sunshine and puppy dog” talk and were more than thrilled to see someone who not only claimed the system was royally f—ed but understood how and why. They were thrilled to see someone who wanted to get inside this incestuous organization and call for real, fundamental reform.

You call into question my leadership ability and prior positions, so I will challenge you with this:

I am more than confident that you came to the table with a stacked résumé of positions you’ve held in your college career. Now, as you are on your way out of office, tell me what you did to better the institution. What have you done in the last year to challenge A.S. to be better? What efforts did you make to impact the justifiable apathy of the student body at large? When I arrived here two years ago I saw a system that only roughly 3,000 students, primarily Greek-affiliated, participated in. Now, two years later I see a system that only roughly 3,000 students, primarily Greek-affiliated, participate in. So tell me, Sean, what did you do in your year to make it better for all? Did you even rise to that challenge, or did you just take the wheel and stay on course?

-Joe Stewart is a journalism senior who is still awaiting a response from Kashanchi.

-This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

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