More than a month into the semester Student Congress still has seven empty seats that will not be filled until a special election on Nov. 5. Six out of 15 graduate student seats are empty and there's one empty seat from Granville Towers.
Without full participation Congress cannot function as a true representation of the student body.
Major decisions have been made by Congress affecting students on campus: Appropriations have been allocated to various student groups for the semester changes to the Student Code have been approved and new voting regulations for Congress designed to improve transparency have been passed.
According to Tim Nichols Congress speaker graduate students simply do not run or vote in high numbers. However graduate students have just as much of a stake in student government as undergraduates.
Nichols said he will be working with Graduate and Professional Student Federation President Cindy Spurlock to increase graduate student participation in Congress and competitiveness in elections this year.
We hope their efforts are successful and we urge students to run in this special election.
It's also important to vote in campus elections. Nichols said voter participation is high in North and South Campus districts but decreases exponentially for off-campus elections including Granville Towers.
If you don't vote you can't complain if your group doesn't get enough funding or controversial decisions are made.
Besides it only takes a few seconds on Student Central.
Interested students should attend the meeting 21 days before the election.
To everyone else: Vote.
Empty seats in Congress jeopardize the long history of autonomous student governance at UNC. Full representation of the student body is essential to ensuring this tradition lives on.
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