San Diego City College has a voting problem.
Last year, voter turnout for the Associated Students Government elections made up just 3 percent of the total student population and the year before that it was only a whopping 1 percent.
What can be to blame for such a poor showing? It is certainly not a lack of information.
With the official campaigning period still weeks away, the front page of the school’s website already bears a banner directing students to a page with all the important election dates covering the entire election cycle.
As soon as the campaigning period begins, there will be a slew of candidate posters adorning the walls throughout campus.
And like every election, the campaign trail will end with a forum in the cafeteria assuring that anyone hungry around noon and 5 p.m. on April 21 will get their share of election information whether they like it or not.
So if visibility isn’t to blame, perhaps the act of voting itself is a barrier? Not likely.
Voting is held online through the school’s website.The proliferation of technology ensures that anyone can vote from just about anywhere they might find themselves come voting time.
It’s not exposure nor access that bars City from being a civically active community.
Students are just not motivated enough to take what small amount of time is required to vote — present company included.
America’s Finest City has no shortage of distractions to draw even the most dedicated students’ minds and bodies away from campus; not to mention work, family and other obligations.
At schools with larger campuses and housing onsite, much more of a student’s life falls within the jurisdiction of campus policy.
We are a commuter campus with few students actually living in the vicinity. So when it comes time to vote, there is little perceived benefit considering the amount of time students spend on campus.
There is a flaw in this logic, though. In the words of the great Howard Zinn, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”
Apathetic or not, the people voted into positions of power on campus shape our experience as students. Not only us, but all future City students, as well.
We as student voters have the power to put people in power, to represent us not only here on a local level but also on a state level through the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, which advocates for policy change statewide.
This upcoming election, it is time to have a more active role in the future of our campus, not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of future City students.