06 March 2007

BYUSA Broke Up the Beatles

In case you didn't catch last year's rant, I'm not very fond of BYUSA. In fact, I quite loathe it. Not that it doesn't fulfill some important functions--I'm sure planning parties and concerts, giving out free hot dogs, and shutting down which ever BYUSA organ is most popular that year are all necessary parts of university life. It gives students a chance to serve one another. And I suppose it's a good place for students to practice their "leadership skills." (I'm not quite sure I agree with the conventional definition of the phrase, but that's a whole different post. I'll write something about it after I read Nibley's article on leaders versus managers.)

No, my major gripe about BYUSA is that it pretends to be something that it's not, that is, a student government. And while it irks me slightly that BYU doesn't have a student government, I understand why this is so. At a Church-operated university, it's quite difficult for people to wrap their heads around the idea that debate and inspired leadership can operate simultaneously. But that's okay--I'm not particularly put out at the lack of grass-roots influence at BYU. I'm willing to trust the administrators to make good decisions. That's what they're hired/called to do.

But what I cannot/will not tolerate is the continued placating of the student body with the semblance of representation. Why pretend that BYUSA is a student government when it is clearly not? And why inflict the horrors of the electoral process on a student body that knows the results of the election make no difference? In what sense is it an election when the higher ups choose who is allowed to run and have the power to overturn the elections? If BYUSA-style elections took place in any third-world country, we'd be crying rigged elections to high heaven. But no one really cares about the unfairness of BYUSA elections because we all know the results don't particularly matter. Let's see, which annoying business major is going to get the scholarship this year?

But the worst part of it all is the campaign tactics. They are tolerable at best when you know the issues are important, but absolutely unbearable in a puppet election. Throwing fliers in your face, blasting music, wearing atrociously bad colors, not to mention the ukuleles . . . . I swear, the next orange- or yellow-covered individual who approaches me on the way to the JFSB with false promises about changing hours at the weigh room (which I don't care about anyway) is going to be faced with the full force of my anti-BYUSA wrath.

In an attempt to direct this fury in a more productive, or at least humorous, direction, some of the tutors at the Writing Center spent the vast majority of this morning creating a line of anti-campaign campaign buttons. Who would dare approach you to remind you to cast your ineffectual vote when you're wearing a sticker that says "BYUSA stuffed me in a locker" or "BYUSA wears combat boots"? I mean, I would think twice about it. Seriously, these things are the best thing I've done in a long time, and we're making t-shirts tomorrow. I really like the idea of combating absurdity with even greater absurdity.

Some of my favorite slogans:

  • BYUSA killed Dumbledore
  • BYUSA eats babies
  • BYUSA stole my girlfriend
  • BYUSA can't tell a good hollandaise sauce
  • BYUSA broke up the Beatles
  • BYUSA shot Ghandi
  • BYUSA slept through church
  • BYUSA stole my lunch money
  • BYUSA will blog about you later
  • BYUSA called me a girl
  • BYUSA is for Death Eaters
  • BYUSA doesn't like your scrapbook
  • BYUSA sunk the Titanic
  • BYUSA ate the last piece of pizza
  • BYUSA: because we hate democracy
  • BYUSA is a secret combination


Not Too Pensive said...

I was approached by a BYUSA candidate man today with a flier.

I looked him in the face, said, "do I look like a freshman?" and walked off.

(Note: I decidedly do not look like a freshman)

The only BYUSA election I would ever vote in would be one on its existence. My vote would be in the negative.

Other favorite responses:

"Wow, it's a shame you guys spend so much time out here beating the pavement. Why don't you advertise on the BYU student radio station?"

"You know, you're not going to get the foot traffic you want here - better try the south tunnel entrance to the library."

Of course, best of all:

"No, seriously, why should I burn 30 seconds of my time to vote for you? What will you actually accomplish that will make it worth the 30 seconds of my time?"

I have yet to hear a good response to the first - most fall back on "school spirit" or something along those lines.

I have fantasies about decking a campaign volunteer. Worse yet - I'm not ashamed to admit it, because I know the feeling is widespread. It's not something I would ever actually do - it's wrong on so many levels - but the fantasy remains.

I do want to get a group to stand in front of one of the ukelele (sp?) people from one of the campaign and yell at him or her to shut up continuously. Now that would be fun... but how to coordinate?

onelowerlight said...

Ha! Funny. I hope this doesn't lesson your respect for me, but I was actually one of the people waving the jasonandjohn.com flag today! I know that some of the stunts the candidates pull can get kind of annoying after a few days, but it's pretty fun to be one of the ones pulling them! Yeah, I know that BYUSA hasn't been the best organization or made the best decisions, and that it can seem almost irrelevant to many of the students, but you might be surprised to know that Jason's approach actually echoes a lot of the things you said (and no, I am NOT just saying this to try and get your vote - wear your badges and try to punch me, for all I care). Jason has always emphasized to me and to everyone else that BYUSA is not a student government, and isn't supposed to act like one, but that it's a service organization. He has a lot of ideas for BYUSA reform, and how to make it more relevant for the older students. Basically, he wants to turn it into the student service organization that it was meant to be when they dissolved ASBYU about a decade ago. Jason is a personal friend of mine, and believe it or not, he's a really awesome, humble guy. Last year, when I didn't know him, I was also turned off by all of the stunts, kind of like you are, but when I got to know him and learn about his plans, I changed my opinion.

Oh, by the way, I wouldn't advise trying to deck me. I am a senior member of the Budoshin Jujitsu club and I LOVE it when I have opportunities to practice...

Not Too Pensive said...

Wow. A jujitsu warrior. Scared. Terrified.

I'm sorry, but your candidate's useless.

Let's look at his platforms:

1. Find out about old editions of textbooks: Won't happen. Requires far too much effort from people with little interest in the subject of saving money for other people. Will he pay a group of students to research this? Nope, he can't. So, he'll require on student submissions, which will come in at a trickle at best and be incomplete. Sorry, pointless.

2. Make all-in-one calendar useless: Oh yeah, great idea. Get EVERY event on the calendar - that's dozens a day, which would make it so overwhelming to be useless.

3. Posting Syllabi online - professors that already want to do so. Those that don't, don't. If you think you'll force departments to do this, good luck.

4. Add link to BYU Housing website from BYUSA website: So stupid I'm not even sure it deserves a response.

5. Expand leadership program - so loosely defined it's useless.

6. Promote use of technology on campus: Now this one got me laughing. I work in IT, and the first two are already ongoing without your "candidates" help. The third is simply not feasible and unlikely to receive sufficient use to make it worth while. This is simply an appeal to ignorance.

7. Expand BYU weight room: Constantly promised, never occurs, and weight room access is already fairly good anyways. Waah.

8. Create BYUSA incentive program: Modify an irrelevant organization. Whatever.

9. Provide "experience" for international students: The experience of voting in a useless election for candidates whose promises make no sense. Beautiful.

10. "Encourage Goodwill": Great. I'm so encouraged.

What a stupid campaign.

BYUSA is not a student organization. It is a party planning organization irrelevant to the vast majority of campus like, say, the French club. Let it elect its own officials and leave us out of it.

onelowerlight said...

I love you too.

Liz Muir said...

Now come on, onelowerlight, you're playing right into NTP's argument. If you actually think these things are useful, how about defending them? Your quippy response implies that because NTP is frustrated with the uselessness of the platform, his opinion is invalid. I second all of NTP's points. Do you have anything to say about why these things are useful, or will you just continue to call our opponents bad sports, hmm?

Right after I finished writing this post, some people from the Summer and Devon campaign came over to "serve" us (ie. bribe us to vote for their candidate) and to encourage us to be educated voters. Don't worry, I am. That's why I'm not voting.

onelowerlight said...

You both are perfectly capable of finding out this information for yourself. No offense, but I have better things to do with my time, and I'm not obligated to respond to your concerns.

Out of curiousity, how would your responses be different if you knew either of the candidates personally as friends?

Liz Muir said...

Ah, but we have tried to find out this information for ourselves, and we have deemed it pointless. :D And if you're supposed to be a campaign worker, then it would be worth your time to try to convince us, especially because if you could give us one valid reason to care, then we could pass that along to all of our friends, who also don't care. But clearly, you have no good reasons for us to vote, only that you want your candidate to win. Because you're his friend.

And as for knowing the candidates, if it's a personal acquaintance that makes an election worth paying attention to, then it's a popularity contest after all, just like every other student body election in high school. In other words, who cares? It's not the people running that I'm opposed to; it's the whole election.

Not Too Pensive said...

You both are perfectly capable of finding out this information for yourself.

And we have. We went to (insert bad singing here) Jasonandjohn.com

No offense, but I have better things to do with my time,

Like sit out in the courtyard, wave a flag, and generally make the entire student body violently angry with you.

Wow, if that's "better", I don't want to know what's worse.

and I'm not obligated to respond to your concerns.

Neither, apparently, is BYUSA. Therein lies the problem.

Out of curiousity, how would your responses be different if you knew either of the candidates personally as friends?

I tend to avoid useless people that accost others in public. It's a personal decision, to be sure, but mine to make. I would encourage you to follow my example.

You were saying?

Paradox said...


Sounds like Honors Society at our school!

And I would SO wear one of your t-shirts;)

onelowerlight said...

No offense, but I have better things to do with my time,

Like sit out in the courtyard, wave a flag, and generally make the entire student body violently angry with you.

Yes, that was a better use of my time. Much better. I actually had a lot of fun with that. Why don't you try lightening up? It could do you a lot of good!

The first internet community I joined was the old FAIR message boards (now the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion boards), and I learned a lot of things there. Two things I learned were: 1) how to tell the difference between a sincere concern that someone has, and a concern that someone is just using as a barb to attack you with, and 2) how to tell when someone has already made up their mind on an issue and isn't going to alter that position at all. I can recognize both of these things in this little discussion here, which is why I've chosen not to engage either of you directly on these issues.

Honestly, you can have the most vitriolic opinion of BYUSA, and I wouldn't have a problem with that. Say what you want about BYUSA, gripe all day about the administration and other such problems. But please, don't translate that into a personal attack on my friends, John, Jason, Jeffrey his brother (who plays the uckelele), Justin his friend (who joined the church 6 months ago and is their most ardent campaigner - props to you if your vitriol disgusts him into leaving the church, mad props), Denise (another convert, a girl I home taught over the summer, one of their supporters), Andrea, Mickey, or any of their other supporters. These are real people, good people, and they are my friends. If this becomes a personal attack on any of them (which it appears to be doing), that's just uncalled for

Liz Muir said...

onelowerlight: Yes, NTP does tend to sound quite personal when he discusses these things. However, I really am still open to ideas, but it doesn't seem that any BYUSA people want to present them. Seriously, why do you think BYUSA should hold elections, other than that you enjoy them? How do you justify their existence? If it's a service organization, as you say, why should it hold campus-wide elections? I'd like to know.

And again, I think I've made it clear that I'm not attacking people. I'm sure your friends are all great people. But the greatness of the people has little to do with the soundness of the ideas. Is there a reason you won't answer rational arguments? Every time I try to talk to BYUSA people about this issue, I get dodged, like NTP says, with screens about how I'm just bitter or have no school spirit (which is not true).

Seriously, I'd like to talk about the issue, if you're willing. Email me, if you feel like the comments are too likely to be attacked. I understand the feeling. I'm very anti-attack-debate myself. But really, I want to know your ideas, and I'm feeling frustrated that you don't share them.

onelowerlight said...

I've given the reason why I'm not addressing NTP's specific questions here; I've learned which questions I ought to answer, and which one's I ought to ignore. I'm not involved in the BYUSA at all; Jason is just a friend of mine, and I think he'll do a great job as BYUSA President. I think it's important to recognize that BYUSA is a service organization, not a student government (which Jason has been trying to get people to see), but I still think it's a good idea to have student elections in order to keep it from getting too out of touch of the students. Granted, only 15% of the student body even votes (which is a major problem), so what really needs to happen is reform, on the part of the BYUSA and on the part of the students. BYUSA does have a lot of power, they shuffle a lot of money, and within the framework of the way the brethren have set up the University, they still have a lot that they can do, even as a service organization. For example, they can help channel additional funding to clubs, invite well known figures to speak at University functions, organize student activities to help students to feel involved in the community, contribute resources to the writing center - there are very many things which they can do, which ought to make BYUSA relevant in the eyes of all students. If there were no elections whatsoever, then it would be an elitist organization that would be much less capable of being in touch with the students. The elections, in my mind, doesn't make it a "student government," it's an attempt to get the students more involved. True, BYUSA may have botched that up in past years, but is it REALLY that much better for the students to spend their time deriding BYUSA instead of expressing desires and suggestions for reform? If BYUSA is failing, it's not just BYUSA's fault. One reason I support Jason is because of the hours of conversation we've had about the need for BYUSA reform. Most of it went over my head at the time, but after this discussion, it's starting to become a little more clear.

To be honest, I really don't know a whole lot about BYUSA. I haven't been involved in it, and I probably wouldn't be able to contribute the most in a conversation about it. I know a little about Jason and John's 10 points, I remember them discussing it with us, I don't know them by heart or know everything that the plan to do about them, but I do remember a lot that Jason has told me about BYUSA reform. If you want, I could talk with him, or connect you with him. I'm sure that if I vouch for you, he won't mistake you for being insincere in your questions.

Courtney said...

er-- not to throw the ongoing debate aside, but I have a few comments. One of my former roommates was on BYUSA, and they actually did more good than I ever realized. Like, extending library hours during finals, for example. The thing is, I can't stand the elections. They are all going to do the exact same thing if they are president, and it won't make a difference. I don't understand why the student body votes. The things BYUSA does is not based on what the students vote for, but what the committees decide to do later. The things they do take a lot of time, so they don't see a whole lot of recognition, and the voting process gives the student body a false sense of democracy. And I think it's a terrible waste of money to do campaigns. They are popularity contests, and completely ineffective. And, what happened to J. Griggs two years ago still bugs me. So, the moral of my comment is this: BYUSA does do some good, but the elections annoy the crap out of me.

Not Too Pensive said...

Liz - first of all, I beg your forgiveness for hijacking this post. If onelowerlight wants to, he can direct himself (or she can direct herself, as the case may be) to my blog.

In any case, onelowerlight, you're not answering the question. You're cowering and shouting, "don't be mean! Don't be mean!"

You have chosen not to debate the issues because you debate from a position of extreme weakness. Lacking any response to criticism or answers to questions, we get the following:

props to you if your vitriol disgusts him into leaving the church, mad props), Denise (another convert, a girl I home taught over the summer, one of their supporters), Andrea, Mickey, or any of their other supporters.

Wow. I particularly like the way you offer me "mad props". I feel like we're "homies" now.

Your blog states an interest in attending law school, and this is your response? Threats that, somehow, my negative response to these elections will somehow cause people to apostatize?

Good luck on the LSAT...

The obvious counter argument would be to question one of two things: the quality of the testimony of your friends (which does not enter into the debate here and is not the basis of my response), or the strength of the position of the person making this argument, if that's all you've got.

And it seems that is all you have.

Is this how BYUSA operates? With threats that those who don't treat it kindly will ultimately be responsible for the eternal damnation of souls? Your arguments would imply that, making BYUSA and its supporters all the more pathetic in my eyes.

You promoted your candidate. I looked at your candidate's platform and critiqued it. You then called me mean. Am I missing a step here? A debate requires two parties discussing issues - I'm not confident a debate has even begun.

These "real people" have decided to make themselves public figures. They have decided to force themselves upon me in public. Sometimes, the response these people will get will be negative. In my case, it will be very negative. I'm a fairly passive guy, and perhaps in spite of appearances here, and fairly easy to get along with in spite of my southern stubbornness. But when you come up to me shoving fliers in my face with the tact of a schizophrenic Chihuahua, strumming away on a ukulele and singing "jasonandjohn.com" with who knows what thumping out in the background, expect a negative response. Expect a very, very negative response. Expect that response to grow even more negative when I am told my quite valid feelings on the matter are threats to the salvation of others - such rubbish doesn't even merit response.

Your argument does not necessarily demonstrate a weakness in the testimony of your friends, but it obviously shows that you either believe their testimony to be so weak that a negative comment on something unrelated to church doctrine or practice will shatter them (nice to see that you think so highly of your friends) or that you are purposefully being deceitful by even bringing up the possibility of this in an argument.

If you have an argument, make it. If you can defend your candidate, do so. (And would it kill you to use paragraphs?)

If you want to argue that I'm just a mean old man who doesn't like BYUSA, that's fine. Here's the simple response to this - I agree. There, now that this is resolved, maybe we can move on to the issues at hand.

That is, of course, assuming you're capable of holding a debate.

Damen Lee Turks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damen Lee Turks said...

BYUSA had nothing to do with extending library hours during finals. That was a decision of the library administrative offices and the library devision of campus police based on statistics taken from the machines you walk through every time you enter or exit the library (you know, the ones that make your earphones buzz annoyingly).

Personally, I am fully opposed to the BYUSA elections, because, as it has been mentioned before, they do next to nothing useful for the student body.

They're a couple of faces in suits at Tuesday morning devotionals.

They're a set of toothy pictures on a wall.

They're large mouths and empty, ambiguous promises.

They are marionettes subsidized by the university, nothing more.

onelowerlight said...

NTP, when you make remarks that are personally insulting and meant to be hurtful towards my friends (such as you made in your first post), that's when I decide not to validate your position by responding to it.

I am not a representative of BYUSA.

I am not interested in attending law school.

I am disgusted that you classify certain people as "useless." I'm glad that I haven't met you outside of this conversation.

I am not interested in winning a debate with you. On the MA&D boards, my signature contains a quote from Hugh Nibley which says:

"the important thing is not to be right at any given moment, but to be able to enter seriously into the discussion. That I cannot do if I must depend on the opinion of others."

I don't enter into online debates to win them. I enter in order to contribute something meaningful and take something meaningful. I grant that I could be more informed on the issues. But even if I were, I wouldn't choose to debate with you in the context that you have set up here.

Cathryn said...

Well, ok. I'll be a new voice in the debate. You don't know anything about my preconceived notions on the matter, so here's your chance to "contribute something meaningful and take something meaningful."

Onelowerlight, why should I vote in the upcoming BYUSA elections?

onelowerlight said...

Because Jason and John sincerely want to serve the university to the utmost of their capability. That's really what it comes down to for me. For all of you, the candidates don't even seem to be people - they're just figures. I know them personally, and I'm very impressed with their dedication and enthusiasm. It's not just popularity, it's much deeper than that.

Damen Lee Turks said...

The problem with that statement is that "the utmost of their ability" amounts to almost nothing. It doesn't matter if you know the candidates personally or not, or what flavor their intentions have, if there is no power in the position, there is no practical use for it. It is empty.

Damen Lee Turks said...

If a musician were to dedicate himself to singing and playing during a concert, were to give all the sincerity and dedication he could muster, but there was never any electricity in his amp, mic, or speakers, what's the use in going to the concert? Why even buy a ticket?

Cathryn said...

Onelowerlight--first off, let me say that I'm sorry your friends weren't elected. That's always so frustrating and disappointing, especially when you've invested so much effort.

Anyway, though, damen's covered the ground that I wanted to get to. The candidates may be amazing people; I don't doubt that they are. But why should I vote? For future reference, I suppose, why should I participate in the BYUSA elections at all?

Not Too Pensive said...

Personally, I'm glad to see the less annoying campaign win.

I almost voted for them myself, hoping to get a point across - annoying campaigns lose. If we can't dissolve the organization, we can at least minimize it.

eleka nahmen said...

BYUSA: because we hate democracy

Brilliance. Would that the student body possessed such snarkiness before I graduated - I SO would there.

onelowerlight said...

I know that many of you guys may think that this is a moot issue, but be prepared for a big surprise on Monday. In the next 24 to 48 hours, possibly the biggest BYUSA scandal is going to be all over The Daily Universe. If you guys wanted a catalyst for major BYUSA reform (which can only really come from the top - read the board of trustees, aka GBH and the Twelve), including a possible reform of the elections process, this just may be it.

onelowerlight said...

Just please remember that the current BYUSA officers were backing Summer and Devon. Devon was actually the campaign manager of the team that pointed out the budget anomoly on Jason and John's team last year, and all of the old BYUSA officers were appointed from the other teams. When Jason and John come into office, they're going to appoint new BYUSA officers - especially because of the scandal that's going to break Monday or Tuesday.

I can see why you guys are so skeptical of the whole elections process. Just please give Jason and John the benefit of the doubt. I really do believe that they're going to change things and bring some needed reforms.

Liz Muir said...

Sweet! BYUSA scandals make me happy! I hope that some change really does happen.

Cassandre said...

By far my favorite part of these comments was the fact that onelowerlight spelled "ukelele" "UCKelele."

That made my day significantly better. :D

Katherine said...

Another scandal?! I LOVE it. I will definitely be picking up a DU on the way to staff meeting.

Katherine said...

P.S. Teach me how to post inflammatory things that will get me 30 comments.

Liz Muir said...

Hey, I was promised a scandal in the DU today! I feel gypped.

Ted said...

Haha, I laughed when I read about how BYUSA extended weight lifting gym hours.

According to my friend who is on the Student Advisory Council, he was part of the group that, because apparently a lot of students were demanding it, negotiated with the administration to extend the hours the weight lifting gym was open.

They succeeded, but the workers ended up shutting it down at the original time anyway, because nobody came in at the new extended times.

Personally, I think the problem is on both ends. My friend is constantly frustrated by the fact that students whine and whine and when he manages to actually pull off something, no matter how small it may be, nobody cares (and actually continue to whine about the same problem after they've solved it).

Not Too Pensive said...

No scandal! None! Where's my scandal!

Geez, another broken BYUSA promise? I'm just not sure I can take this!

Where's my scandal! Or is it only talked about on the student radio station? =)

onelowerlight said...

It wasn't in the Daily Universe? Hmmm...I'm not sure what's happening. But here's the scandal: the yellow team gained over 1,000 of their votes by having other students sign them into their accounts and then they voted for them. Every night of the campaign, they went up to married student housing, took out the students' trash, gathered them all in the living room, brought out their laptops, and had the students log into their accounts and vote (or they voted for them) while the campaign people were looking over their shoulders. The exact phrase they used was "we scratch your back, you scratch ours." In the first night, the campaign leader of the yellow team gained 100 votes this way alone - well over the 52 vote margin by which they one. Needless to say, the entire act was a gross violation of the rules and the team was disqualified.

And even with these dirty handed tactics, they only gained 52 more votes than the orange team!

I'm not sure where to find the story; if it's not in the front page this week, I don't know where to find it.

Not Too Pensive said...

Well, given the option of voting for the campaign that, you know, provides service for students (since, uh, BYUSA is supposed to be a service organization) and one that annoys students greatly, I can't say I see the scandal in this.

I mean, it's not as if BYUSA matters, right? Your candidates were running on a platform of taking credit for other people's work - the installation of additional printers on campus - so where's the problem?

onelowerlight said...

Alright. Count me in against BYUSA - though in a different way than most of the rest of you.

The yellow team violated election rules and deserved to be disqualified. A few of their campaigners coerced students into voting for their team. Probably more than 52 votes were coerced. When my friend Justin went to eat lunch in the cougareat during the elections, the officials actually asked him not to eat there, because his presence could have influenced voting and would have therefore violated campaign rules.

Now, if you don't think that this is an issue, you really are naive. These elections were not clean - the rules were clearly violated, and the violators got away with it. Either have a clean, fair election, or don't have an election at all, I say.

Here's why the story hasn't been (and probably won't be) aired in the Daily Universe:

The yellow team is refusing to take responsibility for their teams actions. They claim (and are probably telling the truth) that they did not train their volunteers to coerce votes, and that therefore, they shouldn't be disqualified. HOWEVER, even so, they should still TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for what their volunteers did in their name. That's the issue - that they won't take responsibility where they should, which in my eyes is dishonest.

Now, when Jason and John took this to the BYUSA infractions committee, they brought up their evidence, their witnesses, and the comments from the other team that they had said. BYUSA said that they didn't have the proper funding to do a non-partisan investigation, and that without that, it was basically a he-said she-said thing.

Why the other team didn't fess up at that point and simply come clean, without having to be compelled, completely boggles and infuriates me.

Jason and John could have gone with this to the Daily Universe, they could have found the witnesses necessary to win the case, and they could have made this a big deal. In fact, John actually wrote a letter and started the ball rolling on this. However, he and Jason had a talk, and they decided not to send the letter, not to make a deal out of this, and strongly pressure the Daily Universe not to carry the story. They did this because they have a large business venture that they're involved with, and they feel that if they were to go to muckraking and fight this battle, it would cause schisms and scandal and make them look bad in the other things that they're doing. They basically decided not to fight this battle, even though something clearly went wrong.

And I don't blame them. They have better things to do, and it doesn't make sense to fight this battle. It doesn't make sense, either, to just completely ignore what happened - if the garbage stinks, you take it out - but they aren't trying to strongarm their way into office.

The thing that makes me mad is the entire elections process, and now, I agree with you guys that the elections process should be eradicated, and all of BYUSA's pretentions to student government be purged.

I naively supported the concept of elections because I felt (and still do feel) that there needs to be a degree of student and campus involvement and connection with BYUSA as a service organization. If it's just an elite group that does its own thing, independant of the rest of the student body, it's not good. However, the elections process is horrible because it turns the whole thing into a political issue, not a service opportunity.

Let me list my major grievances:

-The elections process undermines the honor code by favoring students who are dishonest and can get away with it. There is no capacity for conducting impartial reviews of voting fraud after the elections take place, so this favors dishonesty in the system. It also undermines the honor code, because the system encourages other campaigns to maintain spies in the other camps in order to catch infractions as they happen. Infractions are much more likely to disqualify a team during the campaign than after the votes have been counted - again, because of the lack of impartial elections review - and therefore, students are encouraged to distrust one another, which completely violates the purpose of the honor code altogether.

-The BYUSA organization is set up in such a way that those who are in power are rewarded for consolidating their power, even when the alternative is the more ethical path. Like I said before, the 2005-2006 BYUSA officers were all in the yellow team's pocket - they were the same people who had campaigned against Jason and John last year, and so had an interest in keeping him out again this year, because they could expect to be replaced. In their leadership positions, they receive scholarships and other financial and academic perks. Therefore, it was in their interest not to take responsibility when their team violated the election rules. It was in their interest to cover it up.

-Because of the way BYUSA is organized, it is resistant to change and instead seeks to maintian the status quo. Major BYUSA reforms would hurt the BYUSA leadership, by possibly taking away some of their scholarships and other things. Thereore, the insiders are all against BYUSA reform. Jason and John, from the beginning, had a desire to reform BYUSA, make it more transparent, turn it away from politics and transform it into more of a service organization. These are all good things for the university as a whole - but not for the BYUSA oligarchs. So they CONSISTENTLY teamed up against him, last year and this year.

The system is grossly flawed. I am disgusted with it. I cannot support or endorse BYUSA, because I believe that it is corrupt. Liz, I find that I agree with your original post here.

What should have happened, if everyone was upholding the spirit and letter of the honor code, is this: Devon and Summer should have taken responsibility for the things that their volunteers did, and stepped down. Jason and John probably would have also stepped down, for a number of reasons, not all of which I've mentioned here. BYUSA would have been greatly (and rightly!) embarrassed, and the incident would have been a catalyst for change.

Instead, it's just politics as usual. The garbage still stinks.

Elections should be completely done away with, and the entire organization reconceptualized and restructured. Every resemblance of this organization to a student government should be purged and eliminated. That's what I now firmly believe.

Not Too Pensive said...

Welcome... to the dark side...

Joni said...

As far as I'm concerned, BYUSA elections should be left to the people involved with BYUSA. Let them pick their own leaders and leave the rest of us the %#$#$ alone.

Though I will admit that I find campaign time rather amusing. Especially when there's a scandal.

Liz Muir said...

I know all the evil BYUSA stuff is over, but I couldn't resist a link to this hilarious shirt that tells the real purpose of BYUSA. Ah, the truth will set us free!