Letter to the Editor: 4/3/13

By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Yesterday’s editorial, “Slate system detrimental to SGB elections, campus” states that “megaslates should be disallowed in future SGB elections” and “the slating system, in general, should be banned from Pitt’s student elections.” To support this argument, the editorial suggests a ban would encourage candidates to run on their own merits, give those less connected on Pitt’s campus a chance at being a Board member and promote students with personal commitment and discipline to the Board. While I would agree that these are all things that could be improved upon in our SGB, the editorial calls for the wrong means of reaching this end. By calling for the banning of slates, the editorial is calling for a ban on liberty. This same argument once took place in America’s history, with the most notable explanation in James Madison’s Federalist Paper No. 10. The argument is that people form factions (in SGB’s case, slates) that are focused on benefiting those in the group, oftentimes at the detriment of those outside of the group. But Madison’s solution is not to ban factions, for that would be a restriction on citizens’ liberty to associate with other citizens. Instead, the solution is to have a more benevolent faction form to counteract the evil faction. In SGB’s case, the solution is not to change the system, but instead to have the personally committed and disciplined students form their own slates and use the system to their advantage.

For Liberty,

Michael Ringling

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences