Volume 94, Issue 84

Thursday, March 1, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Affiliates could have avoided the mess

Editorial Cartoon

Affiliates could have avoided the mess

Running a student election is alot like writing an essay.

You assemble the ideas, make sure they follow the proper rules, put it all together, and you usually win in the end.

Bearing this in mind, it would seem like the task of running an election is a simple A-B-C process that, if carried out with even minimal thought will render a satisfactory result.

But if you've noticed, a couple of our student-run elections at the affiliate colleges have gotten their election essays back from the prof, only to scratch their heads at the results. Conclusions to both the Brescia College and Huron University College presidential elections have been footnoted with long lists of dubious concerns.

Brescia's two-person race saw one candidate removed outright after three of her campaign posters were still on display a short time after the campaign period ended. Huron's election resulted in one candidate demanding a recount after allegations of conflicts of interest.

While getting caught up in the hurlyburly process of enforcing the letters of the election laws, these groups forgot was what their essays on democracy should have used as a primary source – common sense.

Students are an amazing bunch of people. They are among the few segments of society that willingly devote significant chunks of their lives to causes, simply because they want to help out. Insofar as their dedication to things like student government are concerned, their go get 'em attitude should be applauded.

But at the same time, adherence to the minutiae of procedure must be tempered by a view of the bigger picture. Losing candidates on technicalities and allegations of conflicts of interest are easily avoidable and inexcusable.

How, you ask? For starters, there must be a point where election rules end, and common sense begins. The risk of bending the rules should not have outweighed the danger of losing a candidate on a technicality, especially in a two-person race. Officials should have created conspicuous space between themselves and candidates, so that allegations of impropriety had absolutely no chance of surfacing.

Perhaps a central committee that would handle all Western elections, on main campus and the affiliates, is something worth looking into. As many discrepancies as there are, it might do some good to look for more parity across the board.

Given all that has arguably gone wrong this year, it would seem as though high school elections are run more effectively. And you have to wonder what administration thinks of these problems. How can they deal with student officials with a straight face if they know about the inconsistencies that tailed them into office?

Student elections, and all the people involved therein, need to keep in mind that knowing the ABC's of election procedure is not the same as putting literacy to proper use. Knowing the difference is what separates an 'A' from a 'D' on that essay you put so much time into.

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