Your school. Your voice.

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Nov. 29, 2011

Recently, students, staff and faculty protested at UC Davis and UC Berkley over drastic increases in tuition and fees. They rallied against questionable expenditures by the boards that oversee the institutions.  Protestors gathered to voice their concerns and were met with abhorrent treatment. The videos are shocking, when you watch campus police in riot gear pepper-spraying and beating the students they were hired to protect.

Students who were pepper-sprayed say they now feel unsafe on campus according to an article in the Huffington Post.

Mechanical engineering student David Buscho, 22, of San Rafael, described being paralyzed with fear as he felt the spray sting “like hot glass.”

“I had my arms around my girlfriend. I just kissed her on the forehead and then he sprayed us,” he said in the interview with the Huffington Post. “Immediately we were blinded. … He just sprayed us again and again and we were completely powerless to do anything.”

We can’t take free speech for granted. Ever.

Here at UAF, you possess great power. As part of the student body, you can vote in the ASUAF election on Nov. 29 and 30.

ASUAF is the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It’s your student government. ASUAF collects $35 per three-credit student each semester and $10 in the summer. The fee brought in more than $500,000 this fiscal year. That money is distributed to groups on campus. Forty-nine percent is divided between The Sun Star, concert board and KSUA at seven percent, 15 percent and 27 percent respectively. The remaining 51 percent is spent on administrative costs, executive office costs, ASUAF department costs, the student travel fund, and funding for clubs among other expenditures.

There are seven senators running for re-election this semester. Three seats remain open.  It would best if the elections could be a contest between multiple candidates that offers a choice to the student body. I applaud the individuals running. You are stepping up to the plate, willing to donate your time to the student body in the hopes of doing some good.

For those who can vote, I hope that maybe looking at the events of the past few weeks on the national scene might impart some motivation to participate in the election. Perhaps you’ll consider running in the spring election.

Writing letters to the editor, opinion columns, talking on the radio, voting, those are all ways to have your voice heard. Do that that now. This is the time in your life where you have more access to those options than you will ever have.

You can write in The Sun Star, have a show on KSUA or be a senator with ASUAF. Later in life, it gets harder to do any of those things, so take advantage of these opportunities now.

Historically, the turnout for ASUAF elections are pretty low, a few hundred students out of the thousands who pay the fee actually vote.

Your vote makes a difference. So be heard.

Heather Bryant

The Sun Star

(907) 474-5078

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1 Response

  1. Arctic-Knight907 says:

    Thank God UAF students aren’t going to feel forced to stage protests over fee increases for a questionable cause (cough, *the student newspaper*)…

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