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Lack of vote troubling

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I’m a first-generation domer, and this is my first year. I couldn’t wait for Feb. 13 to come by: it was election day on campus. I had read up on every candidate, looked at all their platforms, and I was ready to vote. Imagine my surprise when I was told I’m not allowed to vote. The reason? I’m a grad student. Now, I know there is an organization called the “GSU” for a grad student like me (which, incidentally, doesn’t represent all graduate students – sorry MBA and law students!) However, when someone is representing Notre Dame as “Student Body President,” should not the entire student body be able to vote for him or her? I have a student ID card. It’s the same card everyone else uses for Domer Dollars, to get into the dining hall or to go to pep rallies. When I watch home games, I’m standing in the student section. Heck, I even get the student discount at Café de Grasta.

Why is this so important? The very issues that affect undergraduate students also affect us grad students as well. The (undergraduate) student government has committees on minority affairs and diversity. Did you know that the graduate student population is more diverse than the undergraduate population? A great many of us come from outside the United States and have many different backgrounds (I myself am a Canadian-born Muslim with Bangladeshi parents – how much more of a minority can I be, eh?).

The student government also has voting representatives from dorms on campus. Yet, Fisher-Graduate and O’Hara-Grace are not included. Don’t grad students have rectors too? If we violate DuLac, are we not in trouble as well? Heck, there are also senior undergraduates living there – will they not be represented? But the biggest reason why this is important to me is because of something I learned very early on after coming to Notre Dame. We are one big family. We are ND. And when we all graduate, we join one governing association. Isn’t it fair to do the same before we graduate?

Shawn Ahmedgraduate studentFeb. 13