The deadline to announce your candidacy for Student Body President is May 3.
By Elijah Sullivan
Southern Oregon University just held their student elections and watched in horror as only one percent of their student body cast ballots. Both Rogue Community College and SOU have recently elected presidents who ran unopposed. That robbed the student body of the right to choose their president.
Why did this have to happen? Of the nearly 20,000 students enrolled at RCC, are only 0.01 percent of us natural leaders? What does that say about the rest of us?
The current student government is going to be done after this term. Some are graduating, but most of them have simply served their time and will return to ordinary student life. Some may seek re-election in different positions.
If you aren’t a leader, you should have options when choosing who you want to follow. That’s your right. Without choice this isn’t a democracy. I don’t mean to disparage our current presidents for winning. I mean to disparage those who could have stood up but chose not to.
We students are passive by nature. We have to be to be good students. Our instructors tell us that they like an interactive atmosphere and thrive on class discussion. But we all know that the majority of the time we are sponges, simply absorbing. We have no energy to send back unless it is absolutely necessary.
We can’t all be leaders, so we are being prepared for a career following orders. If not to a manager or supervisor, then our allegiance will be to a corporation, an institute, or a state. Most of us will never taste real leadership; we’ll be lucky to even brush against it in our lifetimes. And if you think that voting abstinence is an option, remember that we will no longer be living in a democracy if we let Alpha Male types elect themselves by default.
If those words made you angry or upset, you are probably not a follower. Your inner rebel is furious, and you are vowing not to follow, not to join the enormous flock of “sheeple” you pass in the corridor every day.
You are a leader.
You need other qualities, too, besides indignation. I’m not an expert on what those qualities are, but I can poke, prod and insult you until you stand where you should be standing: tall, front and center, turning my statements around and leading the conversation somewhere constructive.
Voting will begin soon, and the nice thing about low vote turnout is that every vote counts. For the candidates, every ballot is precious. This isn’t a drop in the barrel, like national elections.
But don’t count on leaders to choose themselves. When a prize is up for grabs, the person who extends their hand to take it might just be motivated by some murky sense of entitlement.
Who has your best interests in mind? Who represents the spectrum of RCC students? In the upcoming election, you may be choosing between the loudmouth in the back row of World Lit, or, say, a sophomore who drives a luxury car and plays golf in his spare time. Who cares the most about the common student, who rides the bus and buys lunch with food stamps? Or maybe you will have to decide between bored, nondescript students who are running to alleviate their boredom, or because someone dared them to.
Or even worse: you won’t have any options at all.
If that happens we’ll know that RCC’s student leaders are staying in the closet for another year. Do you know someone you would like to see in a leadership position? One who has limitless energy and has a mysterious need to help others? Who is a good listener, but when they speak, they somehow speak for us all? If you know this person, urge them to consider running for Student Body President.
And if they say no, write them in, anyway. The stereotype of the quiet rebel is no longer in style. It’s no longer enough to come up with impressive observations or witticisms during class discussion time.
You know who you are, and the May 3 deadline to submit your application is right around the corner. Act now, and I look forward to meeting you when we interview the candidates.
The views expressed in this editorial do not represent those of Rogue Community College or its affiliates. Please address your comments to the Editor and submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org