Volume 94, Issue 74

Friday, February 2, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Don't just stand there!

Editorial Cartoon

Don't just stand there!

If you don't care about the University Students' Council presidential election that's currently underway, you're probably not alone.

Beset with the usual student life hardships – classes, exams, bills, OSAP, etc.– many students understandably put taking an interest in student elections at the bottom of their priority lists.

And in the end, how much does it really matter whether you vote for political science dork one or his roommate, political science dork two? Is the election of one candidate over another likely to affect your life in a discernible way? Of course it isn't.

But the USC takes a lot of money out of your pocket every time you enroll at Western – over $400 in fact, if bus pass, health plan and student endowment fund costs are included in the total. In effect, every undergraduate gives up a month's rent and more to its student governing body.

This fact alone should convince Western students to take at least a passing interest in the USC presidential elections which, after all, decide who will govern the body that gets such a considerable sum of money from them.

Much wringing of hands and beating of chests goes on each year in the council's chambers about the apathy of the "average" student and the lack of contact between the council and the student body at large.

Indeed, the USC is a closed society. Its actions always interest its members intensely, but rarely draw any interest from the many non-member students on campus whom it professes to represent.

Presidential elections are no exception. Typically, four or five students who have been heavily involved in the USC make a play for the council crown, as do a couple of inexperienced wildcards and someone running as a joke. The forums and debates designed to let "average" students know what the candidates stand for are eagerly attended by their paraphernalia-clad campaign teamsters – people who already know which way they'll vote – and almost no one else.

The truth is, USC elections look a lot like one big jerk-off session. All those political wannabes who haunt the USC council chambers every Wednesday night and live or die based on whether their much-anticipated by-law amendment motion passes, get to live out their political dreams on an inconsequential scale. Candidates get to play the persuasion game, get to try their hand at intriguing and strategizing in the name of gaining power.

In the end, the winner gets to rule over a body which, while it does offer some wonderful services, also looks like nothing more than a glorified tree house club.

Here's the rub: That tree house is expensive and the money that sustains it comes out of your pocket. So make sure the dork who commands it next year is the best dork possible. Take some time to vote and vote well.

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