It’s that time of year again. The student union’s spring elections are only a couple of weeks away. For some it’s an exciting time, particularly those who are considering joining the student union for the first time and running for a position on the Board of Directors. For some students it’s the same routine year after year: facilitating a team to run on the same platform year after year, spewing the same rhetoric we’ve heard before. Ms. Comito wrote in asking students to critically think about the voting process and to be aware of your options. At a board meeting of the UTMSU held last Friday they discussed elections (see “UTMSU election dates…” on page 3); it’s definitely a time that everyone is aware of, and some even avoid it as best they can. Last year’s spring elections saw a 20% voter turnout. Although some students argued for new ways of campaigning and regulations on the number of class announcements, no changes were made at this meeting.
Mariya Hassan, a Division III director, was actively involved in the discussion surrounding elections and concerns about there being too much campaigning. She commented, “It can be a little annoying, but a lot of us do get excited. There’s so much excitement, including the drama and the newspaper articles that come with it. If you find it annoying then I’m sorry, but I guess that’s just who you are.”
I think these remarks stand out. It completely misses the point of a student union election—the “drama” of competition might be exciting to some, but real issues should be the focus of the election, and students in the cafeterias don’t hear that part so much. They get a couple people who come up to them, drop a name or a card and a catch phrase or two, then move on. Coming from an elected individual, , Ms. Hassan’s position on the inconvenience to voters is a little disconcerting: either you’re into the whole thing and love the process—or else I’m sorry, I guess that’s just who you are.
I hope Ms. Hassan’s attitude towards elections isn’t shared by an elections committee, responsible for overseeing the election process.