Student Government is a Colossal Waste of Time

First, you get a retweet from a celeb. Then you get 300+ likes on a pic that you uploaded to Facebook. Then, you run for CSG!

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“Why are we sitting on these steps?” “Idk, but I’m sure it looks awesome.”

It’s that time of year again, folks: Central Student Government (CSG) elections begin tomorrow! Yes, CSG elections are insufferable. But salvation is nigh. Soon enough we won’t have to deal with their horrid and tortured mix of nauseatingly upbeat statuses, followed by those of a melodramatic seriousness, and back again.

CSG—its elections, campaigns, and whatever delusions of grandeur its members and hopefuls possess—is a waste of our time.

We should not bother voting.

CSG elections are nothing more than high school student government elections, which are invariably popularity contests, on steroids. They are stalking grounds for spotlight-addicted students. First, you get a retweet from a celeb. Then you get 300+ likes on a pic that you uploaded to Facebook. Then, you run for CSG!

They’re a joke, but I hesitate to even give them that much credit. They’re not even remotely funny. What is at all funny about a pack of attention-seeking college students posing for classy headshots in the Law Quad in order to convince wholly apathetic college students that their party is the one that will surely bring #diversity and #inclusion to the Wolverine family? It’s pathetic.

As a small example of the lunacy that has pervaded our campus, take the position of UMPD Oversight, for which someone is running. Are they serious? Sadly, they are. According to the progressive narrative on such matters, our own actual governments cannot even oversee their police forces to prevent racism from creeping in, thereby disproportionately affecting minority communities, and yet we are expected to believe that a twenty-something college student will effectively manage and direct an actual police department? Or even, more humbly, that they will affect its operation in any substantive ways?

"Our arms are crossed and we're stony-faced: We must mean business! CSG here we come!"
“The key is to make it look like we’re about to drop the hottest mix tape of the year.”

These brown-nosing know-it-alls are running to pad their resumes and boost their already massive egos, just as they did in high school a few years back. If by CSG we meant spamming our Facebook feeds with banal posts about how “It’s Time!” or some other load of trash, at least we’d be being honest with ourselves about the vapidity of this whole exercise. Instead, we pretend as though putting either party in “power” (i.e., sitting in a special room every so often and prattling endlessly about matters over which they have precisely zero control), or even having a CSG at all, truly matters. It doesn’t. If the Regents dissolved CSG tomorrow, nobody would notice. And I know this because I’m not entirely sure CSG hasn’t already been dissolved. Can anyone confirm that CSG actually exists? Who’s in power? Is anyone?

Politics, even CSG politics, cannot help but find opportunity in tragedy. Both parties, NewMich and YourMichigan, co-opted the death of a resident of Bursley. They labeled it a suicide when no such designation had been officially released. (It still hasn’t.) They demanded that CAPS be magically better funded and then got on their high horses to denounce the university, as though it doesn’t already do a fantastic job of raising awareness of mental health issues and assisting students who do have mental health concerns. This alone should be enough for us to reject these morally bankrupt parties and their candidates.

One of these days, some student somewhere on this campus will write up a story on CSG and be brave enough to caption a photo for what it is: “CSG candidates get dressed up, hold ‘debate’—as though they have any real power and are not simply angling for a spot in the Peace Corps after graduation.”

Until then, we’ll continue to be subject to their self-centered, tactless, and shallow campaigns, year in and year out.

#DissolveCSG

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About Deion Kathawa

Deion Kathawa studies philosophy and political science at the University of Michigan. He enjoys ice skating and binge watching Netflix (who doesn't, though?) in his spare time. He can be reached via email at kathawad@umich.edu. Deion tweets @DeionKathawa and invites you to friend him on Facebook.
  • Matthew S

    No surprise there. Secret societies are self-important “old-boys” clubs.

  • Not to mention a trying for spot in the University’s Secret Societies. Most of the CSG folks, or those who run end up on the rosters. Coincidence? Inclusion? I think not.

  • Sarah Morrigan

    There once was a time when most university students were under the age of majority (when it was still 21 not 18). At the time they could not vote. Universities offered “student government” as a sort of teaching laboratory in democracy. Today the function of the so-called “student government” as a tool of civics lessons is obsolete. Furthermore, most colleges and universities operate their “student government” (which does not fall under the definition of government in the legal sense) using compulsory student activity fee, which is no longer a trivial amount, added to already expensive tuitions and various fees. Refusing to pay student activity fee results in expulsion or academic suspension from the university. I find this to be (at least in a public university context) unconstitutional violation of the freedom of association, since it is not a genuine “government” with a duly established taxation authority. Again there is no need for this game any more. If students are interested in politics they should volunteer with activist organizations or electoral campaigns instead.