Volume 90, Issue 80

Friday, February 14, 1997

Show Pony


EDITORIAL: No hamsters

All the hoopla has finally come to an end.

To begin, congratulations obviously have to be extended to Ryan Parks for his election to the position of University Students' Council president for the 1997-98 term.

However, there is a small, but hard-working group of students who often go unrecognized in the high-stakes game of USC political roulette but deserve recognition for the outstanding job they have done over the last two weeks.

While Parks and the other eight candidates may have basked in the spotlight there were a group of people who were manning the switches to make sure the candidates would have a stage to shine on.

Chief returning officer James Deans, deputy returning officer Tim Morris and the rest of the elections committee deserve full marks for their behind-the-scenes work to make these elections a success.

The proof is in the pudding. Unofficially, 4,986 students cast ballots for one of the nine candidates running in this election. That's a phenomenal number when you consider that this number is roughly 25 per cent of the eligible voters on campus.

For a university which has long been accused of being apathetic, this is a huge step forward.

Over the last four years, 10, nine, seven and nine candidates have run for the position of USC president without the same voter turnout success rate that was seen in this year's elections.

But there were a number of factors which should be calculated into the success of this year's elections.

For the first time – a break in the tradition of the past few years – the entire elections process was run smoothly. Forums, debates and various other activities attached to the campaign ran with few if any delays.

Secondly, interested parties were not kept up to the wee hours of the morning anxiously awaiting the final results as the final ballots came in roughly at the time they were expected.

And the most important point is that the elections committee took new and brazen steps to encourage more students to vote and to disseminate information to the electorate. Ventures like the USC's Vote '97 web page and on-line voting, while receiving mixed reactions from the student body, were an attempt to make these elections more accessible. Instead of remaining static in the presentation of the campaign, the elections committee branched out and tried new ways of bringing the elections to the voters.

By the final results, it looked as if all the hard work paid off. The proof is in the pudding – and 4,986 voters can't be wrong.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997