Party politics in WLUSU elections
Politics is far from absent at Wilfrid Laurier University, where all major political parties are represented in student groups.
But do ideological leanings play into non-partisan Students’ Union elections?
For Spencer Gibara, it’s been a main motivation and facet of his campaign for this year’s elections.
“I joined the Campus Conservatives because that’s how I align myself … but being a Conservative in general, I think I kind of want to bring more of a fiscal responsibility to the board,” said Gibara, who is running for board of directors.
Gibara is one of two Campus Conservative club members who are running for board of directors. The Twitter bio of the Laurier Conservative group states: “Tired of the mind-numbing socialism of university campuses, professors and students alike? The Laurier Campus Conservatives is the club for you.”
Gibara explained that he decided to enter his candidacy in December of last year after hearing about the Students’ Union debt problem, the extent of which he was “shocked and appalled” to learn.
Gibara believes there needs to be a better mechanism in place to evaluate whether money is being appropriately spent.
“I really want to develop a metric so that we can actually see our progress before we start pouring more and more money into one of these initiatives,” he said.
It is not known whether any candidates have stated affiliations to other political groups, on-campus or otherwise. According to Gibara, there are other candidates that he knows to have strong ideological views.
Jonathan Ricci, another board of directors hopeful, has not emphasized his political affiliation to the Campus Conservatives through his campaign and considers it just part of his experience as a student at Laurier.
His main goal, he says, is to keep the board and president accountable and to achieve results for students, with a focus on policy-making.
“I don’t want to have my party politics be a concern for people,” Ricci said.
Making ties between candidacy and a political party has the possibility of attracting votes to a candidate based on shared values, or having the opposite impact, making it a risky tactic.
Ricci was not concerned about how his politics would impact voters, because it hasn’t been a factor in his campaign.
“I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve been getting,” he said.
Gibara acknowledged that his openness as a Campus Conservative could be a consideration for voters, but he’s not concerned about the influence on actual results.
“I’m sure it could definitely alienate people, but I only want people to vote for me if they actually believe in me as a candidate,” he said.