Letter to the editor: BYUSA not an arm of the stud


    Michael Davidson

    Upon arriving at BYU a scant five and a half years ago, I was extremely excited to get involved in student government. I had visions of standing up against a heartless and unfeeling administration and fighting for the rights and privileges of the common student. However, I found that the administration is neither heartless nor unfeeling and that BYU, alas, had no student government. I almost wanted to organize one, but I saw no real reason to do so.

    Imagine my surprise to find BYUSA running an advertisement in The Daily Universe for a series of debates between “student body president” candidates. I can only assume that whoever placed the ad meant to say BYUSA president. I really think there is a significant difference between the two.

    The president of BYUSA is the head of a student service association. This organization does a lot of good things on campus. In some ways it reminds me of the student council at my high school. They occasionally throw a fun party and organize worthwhile service opportunities for students. The term “student body president” implies more than that, though. It intimates that he or she is the head of a student government and that the president is the single most important representative of the student body.

    BYUSA is not accountable to the student body. In my estimation, they actually seem to be beholden to the administration. All candidates must pass through a rigorous screening process before they are allowed to run. They are dependent on the university for their funding. They are supervised by and answer to the administration. For them to really claim government status, it would be a good thing for them to be dependent on the student body, which they are not, and independent of the administration, which they are not.

    We should call a spade a spade and quit pretending that the president of BYUSA is anything more than just that. As things stand right now, no other claims can be legitimately made.

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