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Activism, Not Voting, Is Key To Fixing UNC

A.) The brother-in-law's roommate's girlfriend of a student body president candidate may not contribute money to the campaign.

B.) Campaign fliers may be placed only in the lower-right-hand corner of walls located in campus buildings that contain five floors.

C.) Campuswide e-mails must include candidate's platform, e-mail address, blood type, shoe size and hobbies.

D.) Candidates must arm wrestle opponents at campus debates.

E.) None of the above.

The answer is, of course, E, but with the recent surge of new election rules and regulations, we might as well add my suggestions. Because they are just a symptom of the illness that is student elections.

Let's quit taking this nonsense so seriously.

Said rulz tell candidates where they can place their fliers, how much and where they can "chalk," and my favorite, which allows no campaigning within 50 feet or visible sight and earshot of computer labs.

It's starting to get a little nutty. As it stands, student elections provide Kinko's business with a much-needed shot in the arm and that's about it.

I understand this much -- Carolina Athletic Association presidents do ticket distribution, senior class officers do senior gift and Residence Hall Association presidents do parties on Connor Beach and secure vacuums. (Note: Simplification of integral campus posts is completely intentional.)

Student body president is a tough one. We're not sure of the president's duties, but we know this much: He and/or she is the head honcho, who tirelessly lobbies for UNC, who fights the fight we regular students can't, who bleeds Carolina blue and has an office in the Student Union.

But I'm going to say it plain -- we've created more Board of Elections duties, ridiculous rules and pointless debates to lend credence to what is a resume-builder for those involved and an annoying distraction for those who aren't.

It's no accident that many moons ago, a candidate named Hugh G. Rection almost nabbed the president position. Brian Bersticker had a terrific showing in the polls last year. And it's all because most students seem to realize that elections are a joke. Most students, that is, except for the ones who throw their body, soul and fliers into campaigns.

Because let's face it -- the endless promises and reforms, the charming grins on posters, the nauseating debates and the pompous endorsements are for naught because students in positions of "power" on this campus are merely puppets who don't have the power to right the wrongs at UNC.

Sure, CAA can muck up tickets, and senior class officers can pick a really super gift, but that's about it.

My contention is not with the candidates. It's not that they don't want to make this University a better place. It's that they can't.

Student body presidents don't have the power to make things better on this campus. They can't make more parking, can't get more seats in the Dean Dome, can't make tuition lower, faculty better.

Student officials are figureheads and little more. They are an ignored student voice at Board of Trustee meetings, a mere peep sitting across from Director of Athletics Dick Baddour's desk, an annoyance among housing department administrators.

I have lost my faith in student elections, but I haven't lost my faith in students.

I still think buckaroos who band together, take drastic measures and yell loud enough will be heard.

I still think that if enough of us get hyped and take no prisoners, we can make things happen. I still think the student voice means something.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

But I don't think casting your vote will do a damn thing.

So, fellow classmates, let's rock the boat.

And don't rock the vote.

Columnist Ashley Stephenson can be reached at

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for February 5, 2024