Volume 96, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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Failing the campus elections test

Between Lines
Tait Simpson
Opinions Editor

Congratulations Mr. Yeoman, you're the new boss.

For those of us who voted in this latest round of University Students' Council presidential elections, and put in a vain effort to try and understand the candidates, you (and most of the other candidates) impressed us with your professionalism and knowledge. In my own time consuming effort to try and find the best candidate, I attended enough of the interminable forums and spoke to enough people to feel pretty confident about my own vote once I sat down at the computer terminal in the UCC atrium.

My voting experience went something like this: I sat down and quickly found that my computer was not functioning properly. However, my quest to be an informed university voter would not be derailed so easily. A computer-savvy bystander set me up with a functioning computer and I began. First came the dental plan referendum, on which I felt fairly confident. Plus it was a "yes" or "no" question, which, much like "true" or "false" questions, haven't been prevalent enough during my exam taking experience at Western. I was rolling.

Next came the question concerning who I wanted to see elected as USC president. I could choose only one candidate, although I was prepared to rank the candidates in order of preference if the faceless students who control the elections wanted to throw me a curve ball. This, after all, was the question I had been studying for.

I scrolled down for the submit button so I could get up to leave with my chin held up high, but, as I went down, I noticed that I there was a mysterious page in front of me. The screen wanted my selection for Social Science Student's Council president, as well as 10 social science councillors. Ten! Could it be possible that I had spent so much time trying to decipher differences between the presidential platforms that I had neglected to look at my social science candidates? Panic ensued for a brief moment – I hadn't studied for this.

The screen told me I didn't have to select all 10, but I wasn't prepared to let them corner me like that. I was going to find 10 suitable names. I tried to remember names from the profiles I had read that day, but, much like cramming for a test, there was too much information and I drew a blank. I recognized one name from someone who was in a class with me. They didn't drool or say outlandish things, so they would be my first vote, but now I was tapped. I asked some friends walking by if they knew anything. One friend had two names for me, bringing me to three. Another friend knew two people not to vote for, which was helpful, but did nothing to advance my total. Then a knowledgeable USC type gave me four names of nice people they knew who I could vote for, bringing my total to seven. Strapped for names and unable to solicit any more help, I selected the bottom three candidates because I felt sorry that their last names placed them at the bottom of the ballot.

Alas, after all my effort, I could do but a half ballot without resorting to using the advice of others and blind selections. Perhaps like university assignments or exams, you get better the more you do. Next year's elections look out – I'll be ready.

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