Volume 94, Issue 26

Tuesday, October 17, 2000


Editorial Board 2000-2001

BOGged down in the hype

Editorial cartoon

BOGged down in the hype

Yesterday afternoon, the seven candidates running for an undergraduate seat on the Board of Governors stepped up to the mic and met the media's questions in the University Community Centre Atrium.

Predictably, student turnout for the forum was low, though if one counts those in line at Tim Hortons as participants, the number of students on hand might reasonably be called a 'smattering.'

In some ways, it is easy to understand why students take little interest in election forums such as yesterday's. After all, the majority of students do not come into direct contact with the BOG in the regular routine of their lives.

What's more, student candidates in Western's student elections can often be difficult to distinguish from each other. It is a sad truth that even the most amateurish of student politicians can easily master the rudiments of empty political rhetoric. Buzzwords like "accountability" and "commitment" get repeated endlessly and mercilessly; phrases like "student representation" and "listening to student concerns" become handy standbys, to be uttered whenever a candidate can think of nothing to say.

Be that as it may, anyone who shows enough interest in our student democratic institutions to run for positions within them, deserves strong commendation. While it is tempting for regular students to assume an easy posture of political indifference, it is crucial that regular students resist that urge.

Students' fate as a Western student will likely not change dramatically, based on which of the seven BOG candidates gets elected. However, as citizens of a country and civilization that consider democracy its political bedrock, everyone here at Western should at least take an interest in the democratic processes that go on around them.

Student politics may seem inconsequential at times to the average undergrad, but it must be remembered the candidate elected to BOG will be carrying the student perspective to the most powerful governing body of an educational institution, that is also a multi-million dollar corporation.

Furthermore, if university students fail to take an interest in the political discourses and processes in their immediate vicinity, chances are, they will grow up ignorant of political games with much higher stakes, such as those on municipal, provincial and national levels.

An uninformed, uninterested electorate will get pushed around by the cops, put away by the judges and dictated to by the legislators. Democracy should be a way of life; we ignore it at our peril.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000