WLUSU election lacking substance

(Photo by Nick Lachance).
(Photo by Nick Lachance).

Maybe I am becoming increasingly cynical as I finish my undergraduate degree, but it seems increasingly so that the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union elections are a joke. I want to make a few things completely clear: I will endorse no candidates and I do not intend on cutting down any of those running for election—at least not by name. My analysis of the elections is not a reflection on all candidates, some of whom are well prepared and I hope to see elected.

Full disclosure: I ran for Board of Directors in my second year, but was defeated. Additionally, I am currently a student senator.  One of the things that I always assumed would differentiate post-secondary education from high school would be the student elections. Surrounded by young, intelligent students, I believed that the popularity contests of high school president would no longer exist and that actual, genuine issues would be at the forefront of every campaign.    Sadly, I increasingly find myself thinking that this is not the case.

The elections for all positions continue to be a (relative) popularity contest, but what irks me the most is the ‘competition of school spirit.’
Simply put, I do not give a damn how much school spirit each candidate has and adding “Go Hawks” throughout your platform does not make you a qualified individual.
If one were to briefly examine the platforms of all the candidates, one would think that having Laurier spirit is the sole qualification that is needed to hold office at this school.

While I would like to give a short analysis of each candidate’s platform, I will not. Because many people may disagree with my decisions, but primarily because currently there are still numerous candidates who have yet to create a real platform—sadly, I am not kidding.

The platforms themselves also demonstrate the knowledge of candidates.  As lovely and ideal as some of the proposals of many candidates are, many of their initiatives do not fall under the responsibilities of their specific office. Without naming specific candidates, some of them could only be described as abysmal.
A notable example would be a platform, which would be appropriately deemed a joke, which was a total of only 30 words. I can’t speak for the rest of the student population, but I’d like to see original ideas.

I want to see people saying—and here I borrow from the 1976 film Network—“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” and subsequently outline what they would like to change.  By now, most people probably think I hate all candidates, and am simply an embittered fourth year. Do not get me wrong, there are a number of candidates who have solid ideas, and I hope that on election day they will be rewarded by my fellow students. I simply want to have students weed out the resume padders from those who are genuinely concerned with the school and its issues.

So this week, when you are approached by those helping out with campaigns, do not let them tell you about how much ‘Joe’ loves Laurier, and how proud he or she is to be a Golden Hawk. Make everyone accountable for their candidates and ensure they grapple with issues that actually matter.

These candidates will be exploring the complex of issues of budgeting, academic policy and strategic planning—difficult and deep issues, especially as Laurier grows and budgets shrink. School spirit is not a requirement of any of this but intelligence and vision are.

If the “amount of school spirit” is on your list of requirements for a vote, that is fine, but please, for everyone’s sake, stay away from the polls. To everyone else, I do not care whom you vote for, so long as you make an informed choice, as it is your school and your money.


Leave a Reply