Juan Salamanca/Contributing Writer
On the fifth and sixth of April, thousands of students at FIU will be casting their ballots in the student government elections.
You know how this story goes; show up on election day, cast your ballot and if your party wins, your interests are represented by your representatives. Everyone goes home content with the state of the civic affairs. It’s democracy in action.
Yet what if nobody elected or any of the candidates available truly represent you?
What if none of the candidates even represent the majority of the population?
For the majority of FIU students, this is the case.
How are most FIU students not represented by SGA? Consider the following: President Alexis Catalayud is a sister of Phi Mu. Vice-President Juan Gilces is a brother of Zeta Tau Beta. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sergio Molina is a brother of Theta Chi. All associate supreme court justices, save one, are affiliated with greek organizations. Of all the senators in SGA, only two are not associated with a greek organization.
Speaking as what a fraternity brother may call a “GDI,” a slur for non-Greek men developed by frat brothers which fully spelled out is unpublishable, this strikes me as undemocratic. The University is not particularly known for its extensive greek life despite the activity of the greek organizations on campus. No matter how many three-lettered shirts you might see walking around under GL, most FIU students aren’t greeks. So why is our student government run by them?
The answer is simple; Greek organizations are precisely that, organizations. By nature, they organize things. And in low turnout elections like the student elections of a massive commuter school like FIU, organization is everything. Any brother or sister who decides that they want to run for a political office at the school is backed by the formidable campaign machinery of their Greek society.
It also doesn’t hurt that greek loyalty means that any member of a greek organization that runs for office will have the entirety of their fraternity or sorority voting for them. This isn’t to say greeks are bad people or corrupt. Greeks simply have organizational advantages that non-greeks don’t.
Consider that the non-affiliated at FIU are notoriously disengaged and apathetic towards campus politics. As a result, most don’t run for office or end up voting at all in the election. Even if they did run for office, running against a greek means alienating the other greeks.
They also have to cull their support organically, which taking the apathy of FIU non-greeks into account, means a tough fight to have any sort of support at all.
The impact is that Greek organizations get a virtual carte blanche in setting SGA policy. This isn’t just paranoia; the greeks in charge appointed a bunch of greeks to sit on the bench of the SGA Supreme Court.
The late Justice Antonin Scalia lamented the lack of educational diversity in the United States Supreme Court and I would imagine that he wouldn’t be too impressed by the lack of diversity in FIU’s own supreme court.
Whatever party wins the SGA elections, they should commit to including the voices of the non-affiliated and running more non-affiliated candidates in the future. In this regard, I seriously doubt that the incumbent party plans change much.
So I sign off with this message to the non-affiliated at FIU: you know what to do this April.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
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