This school has an aristocracy

The Minnesota Student Association, Professional Student Government and Council of Graduate Students have become official legislative bodies on campus. The real question is this: Who are they legislating for?
 
 
Not all students participate in student elections, and few people actually run for office. “Elected” leaders do little campaigning other than some golf cart runs up and down the bridge. 
 
 
In the 2014-15 academic year, MSA, PSG and COGS together received more than $490,000 dollars from the entire student body. So why should the student body accept the role of servant to their demands? Well, because this is an aristocracy. 
 
 
An aristocracy is a society governed by people who have special titles and, traditionally, more money and power than others. Our “leaders” have special titles that give them access to money and power. They receive stipends, access to the most important people on campus and (most importantly) power. 
 
 
So why do the people in these groups run for office? Is it to represent the student body? No, it’s because they have time and want power.
 
 
This is evidenced by a quote from the Student Body Vice President Abeer Syedah, who said, “I am really attracted to governance and other power systems that change things.” 
 
 
I am not accusing anyone of evil intentions, but most people in power do not believe they are doing evil things. I am sure our “leaders” just want the best for us, and I am sure they know what that best is. A student needs to look no further than MSA’s annual trip to Washington, D.C., where a select group of leaders gets to take a trip on the student body’s dime to develop relationships with D.C.-based leaders. 
 
 
We should require a person to review who should be eligible to run for student office. Many students do not have time to do so because they fill their schedules with a full credit load, work and family obligations. 
 
 
I have met young single mothers, students who work full-time to help their families pay the bills and students who study all the time to keep up. Do we expect them to have the time to run for student government? Do we expect them to take the time to even know what our student government is doing? 
 
 
But don’t worry, fellow students. Just like in any other aristocracy, we just need to trust that our student leaders are more able to make decisions regarding our campus than we are.
 
 
Ryan Carlson
University student