Editorial: Early deadlines are not the problem

The student body should become more involved

By TNH Editorial Staff
On January 31, 2014

On the first day of classes of the semester, most students were focused on arriving to their classes on time, waiting in the long lines to purchase textbooks and hanging out with friends that they had not seen in nearly five weeks. Almost none were focused on completing applications and gaining hundreds of signatures as part of the process of running for Student Body Elections.

This year the deadline for petitions and applications for the elections was originally set for Tuesday, Jan. 21, the first day of classes. The intention of the early deadline was to move up the elections and allow for more time for the newly-elected officials to learn from their predecessors during the spring semester. 

The decision to move up the application and election schedule is indicative of initiative from the student officials. However, the general student body did not share that same sense of urgency and initiative. But with only a few weeks before the beginning of winter break to decide to run for a position so far off and gain 300 signatures, how could most students effectively do so?

The lack of response has pushed the deadline back 10 days, but response from the student body has still not been strong. In this issue's article on the elections, the current Student Senate speaker and election committee chair Al Pace said that he anticipated this year's "election season to be more timid" than last year's, which had five pairs of candidates running for student body president and vice president, describing this as an "unprecedented number of candidates."

At a university with over 12,000 undergraduate students, it is surprising that five pairs of candidates is an "unprecedented number."

The reasons that more students do not get involved in Student Senate positions likely vary; perhaps students are unwilling to take on the responsibility, do not fully understand what these roles entail, or are simply uninterested.

Hopefully disinterest is not the main reason that students chose not to run for such important positions, but it is likely that this is why so few students submit petitions.

All of the positions available to students require extensive time commitments, responsibility, and interest in improving the university. If many students are aware that they are not able to commit themselves to such work, that is understandable, but surely more than five pairs of candidates should be able take on the responsibility and are interested in positions that allow them to have a say in the state of UNH.

The extremely early deadline was certainly part of the reason for the low response in applications and petitions, but unfortunately an overall lack of involvement is a bigger problem that an extra 10 days cannot solve. 

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