Editorial: GPSC survey misleading
It’s a fundamental democratic right for people who are unhappy with their elected officials to be able to try to replace them. If it is the people’s will, the very institutions that are supposed to represent them should also be subject to change.
An Oct. 2 press release from the Graduate and Professional Student Council stated that the Associated Students of the University of Arizona chose to “ignore the needs of graduate students” by not voting on a change to the ASUA bylaws that would make GPSC the sole representative of graduate students.
ASUA could very well could be failing graduate and professional students at the UA, and if GPSC President Zachary Brooks had a popular mandate, ASUA should indeed take up the matter and vote for the bylaw change.
The problem, however, is that we don’t really know if Brooks has that mandate. At an ASUA meeting on Oct. 2, Brooks touted that only four out of 580 graduate students polled said that they felt ASUA represented them. The survey is misleading, though, as the question it asked was, “Which campus-wide student government do you feel represents you?” There were only two options: GPSC or ASUA.
Why wasn’t there a third “none of the above” option? When they are limited to two choices, obviously graduate students will pick GPSC, which caters specifically to the needs of graduate students, over an organization that is tasked with representing all 40,000 students at the UA.
Also, considering that the survey was posted on the GPSC Facebook page, it couldn’t have possibly represented a random sample of graduate students, since students who have already liked the Facebook page probably support GPSC more than the average graduate student. Perhaps if GPSC had stacked the deck a little more by telling students outright to vote for GPSC, those four students who voted for ASUA would have succumbed as well.
These results are at best small step toward the popular mandate Brooks would need to convince ASUA that graduate students truly want this change. Sure, GPSC got the students who took the survey to sign a petition to gain advocacy for GPSC, which was also signed by the graduate presidents of the College of Medicine Tucson, the College of Medicine Phoenix, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Science, the Eller Master of Business Administration and the College of Law.
But wouldn’t it be more transparent and honest to just ask graduate students if they want GPSC to be their exclusive representative?
Brooks seems convinced that graduate students need their own representation and that his call to change the ASUA bylaws is an overwhelmingly popular one. It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that he’s right, and he could demonstrate that with a survey polled from an unbiased sample. But he has yet to prove it.
Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Brittny Mejia, Nathaniel Drake, Kyle Mittan and Lynley Price. Brittny Mejia did not contribute to this article. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or an Twitter via @DailyWildcat.