The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Eliminating voter apathy

It has begun. Even reading this newspaper, you have already been hit with it. Campaign week is here and students are being mauled by smiling campaigners passing out flyers, candy and platform cards. There are shirts and sandwich boards all over campus and Bryan-College Station touting candidates’ names and slogans, attempting to catch eyes and win votes.
Let’s all pay attention this year.
In the student body elections last year, voter turnout was 9,479, down from the previous year’s 10,307 votes, according to an April 1, 2002 article in The Battalion. This is a dismal number, considering Texas A&M enrollment constantly sits higher than 40,000. This year’s official 12th class day tabulations, according to the Feb. 4 Battalion, set A&M’s official enrollment at 42,184. Considering this figure, less than 24 percent of the student body votes in the largest, most important campus election of the year.
Sadly, the 6,116 votes cast in the fee referendum that took place on Feb. 26 and 27 were a record high for that type of ballot.
Astonishingly, only 7 percent of the total enrollment of this campus casting a vote is considered a record.
This voter turnout shows a compelling lack of concern on behalf of the A&M student body in the political process as it pertains to this campus. In a student body election, most candidates have Web sites, representatives to speak with, or the candidates will make time to speak with students. The voting process is relatively accessible and easy to take part in. Campus elections are important for the functioning of a university, but only if the students take them seriously.
This year’s fee referendum turnout shows that the tide is turning and more, though not enough, students are paying attention to events around them. Students have an obligation to educate themselves and to take note of the candidates they feel will serve and provide leadership in the upcoming year.
The March 6 Battalion quoted A&M President Robert M. Gates as saying student fees will not be increased because he said he feels student interest was represented by negative votes in the fee referendum. Someone is listening, and when students take part in the voting process, it does matter.
A&M students should take a stand when voting in the student body president, yell leader student senate and class officer elections.
By seriously considering candidates, holding them to their platforms and questioning them on issues they will face in the next year, candidates too are held to a higher standard. It should not be easy to win an election on a campus as large as A&M’s, but if a candidate only needs about 8 percent of the votes to achieve a majority, the task is not as daunting as it could be.
More than 10,000 students must vote in this election for it to be truly representative of the student body. The process is easy and takes only a few seconds online or at any number of voting booths across campus.
Characteristically, A&M is not a political campus, but it is time for students to take a stand and pay attention to the politics around them. Honor and integrity are issues in this election, especially considering some events surrounding some of last year’s top student leaders.Now is a time of transition in the University, one with a new president and vice president of student affairs and a changing of the guard in the Athletic Department. A&M needs student leaders who are up to the challenge and will represent students well. The turnout for the fees referendum was record breaking, but not admirable. Hopefully more than 7,500 students will cast votes in next week’s student body elections.
This is A&M and its students are its most valuable resource, but only if they pay attention and choose not to throw those campaign flyers away.

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