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The Daily Tar Heel

Pay attention, Tar Heels

Why students should follow campus elections

It’s campaign season again. And to some students, it can seem like the only repercussions are annoying A-frame signs and badgering signature-collectors.

But student body elections have consequences, and they give students a chance to impact University policy and campus life by choosing competent officers.

The student body president influences not only campus life but the decisions made by University administrators. The SBP sits on the Board of Trustees and is consulted on many major changes at the University.

This position also represents the student body outside of the University sphere. Current president Jasmin Jones, for example, is lobbying legislators to keep money from the $200 state-mandated tuition increase at the University rather than the state’s general fund.

The SBP also appoints numerous students to various policy-making positions. The administration has taken on issues such as grade inflation, campus safety and the Homecoming parade.

While the SBP influences University policy, the Carolina Athletic Association president has an impact on student ticketing policies. The CAA helped change the basketball ticket policy this year to one ticket per student.

The housing department created a new system for picking rooms. The easiest way for students to influence housing issues is through the Residence Hall Association president.

And then there’s Student Congress. It maintains the Student Code, which we all submit to, and distributes about $400,000 of student fees to campus groups.

In fall 2008, Congress caused a ruckus by giving $5,000 to an anti-abortion group that put larger-than-life signs showing aborted fetuses on the quad.

Elections are a time for students to speak out against — or for — Congress’ decisions, the basketball ticket policy or the SBP’s leadership.

Students deserve good representation. There’s an obvious difference between good student government officers and bad ones.

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