by JULIA MARI T. ORNEDO
In April 2017, elections for the new set of Central Student Council (CSC) Executive Board officers was marred by mass abstentions by the Thomasian electorate.
The question that loomed immediately after the controversial elections was: have Thomasians become apathetic? Many Thomasians argued that the outcome was caused by a lack of competent and deserving candidates and not of interest from voters—a fair point, considering the shameful apologism of martial law by a candidate for vice president that made rounds on social media.
Artlets, ever the articulate and outspoken, were some of the first to decry the suggestion that Thomasians had become apathetic to politics when news of the controversial CSC elections broke out. Yet, over a year on, it seems that they have become blind to the glaring political apathy manifesting in their own backyard.
On Sept. 13, the AB Commission on Elections (Comelec) set up shop at the Tan Yan Kee building to welcome aspirants for the position of Public Relations Officer (PRO), a seat that has been vacant since the last ABSC general elections as no Artlet vied for the position.
What was meant to be a period for filing of candidacies would have been of more use to the Comelec if they had instead used it for nap time, since not one Artlet bothered to show up anyway. It was trend that continued two more times until the Board of Majors finally decided to declare the PRO seat permanently vacant.
Equally as alarming as the absence of candidates is the lack of outcry over Artlets’ obvious apathy toward local politics. They claimed that they abstained in the 2017 CSC elections because they were unsatisfied with the candidates, yet they ignored the opportunity to fill in the gaps of their own struggling council when it presented itself.
Do Artlets think that no candidates is better than having many undeserving ones? If they do, then we must all be wary of the future of our nation. If they don’t, then why has no one stepped up to occupy the empty seats in the ABSC? Alas, it seems that the answer is neither. With each passing filing period reopened by the Comelec in futility, the answer becomes more and more clear: Artlets just don’t care.
Short of saying that that they place their personal interests over those of the Artlet community, political parties told the Flame that they did not field candidates because their members were “contented” with their positions in their respective organizations and because they are “reluctant to associate themselves with the current council, given their questionable performance in some projects.”
If serving the best interest of Artlets—which is having a complete student council that can function without handicaps—is not the prime motivation of the “student leaders” who are part of political parties, then what are they doing in those groups in the first place? If they so detest the way the ABSC is currently being run, then why don’t they aid the incumbent officers instead of snobbily distancing from them?
If universities are indeed a microcosm of Philippine society, then it is no wonder why the country is in shambles. It is high time for Artlets embody their liberal arts education by taking on leadership roles at a time when the Faculty needs it the most.