Letter to the Editor: In Response to “The New England Classic Calls for Abolition of UGBC”

To The Editor:

A lot has been said about the Undergraduate Government of Boston College as an organization recently, and so as someone who was a member of UGBC for three years until I resigned a few weeks ago, I feel the need to share my personal experiences and observations. The unfortunate truth is that, while many of UGBC’s members are passionate and hardworking individuals, the organization itself is a broken and dysfunctional system that cannot possibly represent the true needs of our student body.

The truth is, the vast majority of the student body doesn’t care about UGBC. This year’s presidential election resulted in a turnout of 25.8 percent (2,414 votes), which was the lowest turnout in a decade, but last year’s election, which was considered one of the most exciting and involved elections in recent history, only saw 2,880 votes counted, or approximately 30.8 percent of the student body. The fact that we have come to accept over two-thirds of the student body not voting as a victory is frankly disgusting, and it just underlines the absurdity of the idea that UGBC represents all of the students on this campus.

This year’s Senate elections were wildly revealing as well. When I was a freshman, over 20 students ran for the 4 available seats to represent our grade. This year, only 23 people ran for an available 22 seats, and only three of the six races were contested elections. The past couple of years have seen a cataclysmic decline in student interest toward UGBC, and the wild part is that it took a last-minute joke entry from The New England Classic’s policy bracket to highlight just how much the student body dislikes UGBC. Throughout the month of March, over 4,500 votes were counted in the NEC’s policy bracket, and “Abolish UGBC” was the ultimate winner. Truly, the people have spoken.

At this point, I should reiterate that this is by no means an attack on the members of UGBC themselves. Most of the people I’ve worked with have been incredibly dedicated, and I have no doubt in my mind that they care about this school. I also disagree with the common misconception that “UGBC does nothing anyway”; many people don’t realize that UGBC runs Showdown and the ALC Ball, two of the biggest events on campus. The vast majority of UGBC’s advocacy work, however, is done by ALC, GLC, and CSD, which is often forgotten in the midst of Senate elections and debates that do nothing for the student body.

Ultimately, UGBC is a fundamentally broken system that needs radical change in order to truly represent and benefit the student body, and maybe The New England Classic’s got the right idea about how to do it. In their resolution, they supported the complete dissolution of UGBC and the separation of ALC, GLC, and CSD into independent advocacy groups. If this is the true meaning behind “Abolish UGBC,” then this is a movement we should all be supporting.

Sincerely,

Sam Szemerenyi

#AbolishUGBC

MCAS ’20