WLUSU presidential hopeful submits resignation

Andres Melendez (Photo by Ryan Hueglin).
Andres Melendez (Photo by Ryan Hueglin).

Andres Melendez, one of the four candidates who submitted a nomination package for Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presidential candidacy, officially dropped out of the race on Monday.

While he informally resigned last week, he did not sign the form to officially resign his candidacy until this week, claiming that he was unaware of the process.

Melendez said that he did not know the extent of the commitments that would be required during the campaign period and that he did not feel adequately prepared for the position of Students’ Union president.

“When I signed up, I did not consider all the implications that there were of running for president, all the tasks that would be required and I feel that if I were to go at this, then I would need time to really think about it. I would need a lot more preparation,” he said.

Melendez also acknowledged that the campaign acted as a popularity contest that he “did not want to take part in.”

“It’s mainly about knowing the right people, the right people to help you campaign, the right people to get your name out there,” he said.

His resignation was not entirely unexpected due to his lack of active participation in the campaign. Melendez arrived late to the all-candidates forum and did not partake in the presidential debate or the open forums held on the Brantford and Waterloo campuses.

Chief returning officer for the WLUSU elections, Dani Saad, said that although Melendez only formally dropped out this week, they met midway through the campaign to discuss the process of how to withdraw.

A candidate must sign a withdrawal form to resign their candidacy. They are still bound by election rules if they drop out during the campaign period.

While Melendez’s active campaigning was minimal, according to Saad, he fulfilled the necessary obligations, including attending the all-candidates meeting and a mandatory information session.

“There’s no commitment that he didn’t meet in terms of being a candidate,” Saad said.

Saad believes that the process to prepare a candidate—which includes information and training sessions, as well as meetings with elections officials as needed—is sufficient to prepare candidates.

“Even though the campaign period is only two weeks, usually when candidates are looking at running for a position they’re doing research long before that and setting up meetings long before that. It’s not always the case and it’s not necessary, but it’s certainly advisable if you’re trying to get a grasp of the role,” he said.

Melendez highlighted in his campaign the importance of recognizing the diversity of the student experience and listening to the views of students to best evaluate their needs. He stated in his platform that he could provide “a more realistic view of the student mentality.”

Melendez said after his resignation that he may still consider running again next year for WLUSU president.

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