Volume 93, Issue 71

Friday, February 4, 2000


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Time to take responsibility

Editorial cartoon

Time to take responsibility

Time is ticking on the University Students' Council presidential election clock and it's becoming quite clear that Western students just don't give a damn.

Numbers don't lie – and what the numbers have said in the past is that very few students vote in the presidential elections. As The Gazette's poll indicates, this year looks to carry on the same tradition of apathy. It also shows that most students are unaware of issues surrounding the campaign.

Every year, the USC cronies say there needs to be a higher voter turnout, yet every year produces the same passive results. This is cause for concern.

Typically, the blame for the low turnout is indirectly shoveled onto the USC. Buzz words such as "accessibility" and "approachability" follow election campaigns like lost puppy dogs, implying that measures are not already in place to make the USC open to students. This simply isn't true.

Students have every opportunity to exercise an interest in their student government. Meetings for council, Senate and Board of Governors are open for anyone to attend. If you want to talk to your USC president, all you have to do is book a time. Presidential forums travel to almost every residence on campus. Why should the USC be held responsible for the lack of communication between themselves and students, when the majority of students refuse to take advantage of the options already available to them?

As students, we are at the bottom of the food chain. The USC is our link to administration, which is our link to the province, which is our link to making a difference in issues such as tuition. If students are going to be credible in their fight to lower tuition, then they should take more interest in who provides the first step in making the changes happen.

The years spent at university are meant to act as a training ground for the "real world," but in a political sense, they provide a much greater opportunity to get involved. Once you've stepped into the very real world of mortgages, tax brackets and families to support, the extent of most people's political reach is through a ballot box. City councillors won't come into your living room for a Q&A period and the prime minister won't pencil the average citizen into his day-planner to discuss their concerns.

So why aren't students taking advantage of this opportunity? Maybe it's because one-fifth of the student population are first-year students, who are still in post-prom dreamland and haven't had the time to grasp or care about the inner workings of this university. Maybe it's because students don't take their government seriously enough. Regardless, it's guaranteed that at some point, every student on this campus will have a gripe about something.

If you're going to open your mouth, then at least have the decency to first open your mind and exercise the opportunities available to help choose a leader wisely.

To Contact The Editorial Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000