Ask tough questions in the USC elections

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Beginning today, you’ll notice more people than normal in the University Community Centre atrium trying to befriend you.

Why? University Students’ Council elections have begun. Campus will be bursting with posters, candidates, and candidates’ spirited, T-shirt-wearing helpers vying for your attention and your vote. Call me skeptical, but I must ask myself " why should I care?

Students’ Council elections candidates tend to make promises they can’t keep. While candidates respect students enough not to pledge a four-day school week, they aren’t immune from making promises reminiscent of high school council elections, such as more tater tots in the caf.

And although I’d be in favour of more tater tots, how do I know a promise will be kept?

Part of the problem is the USC works as a team. Most of the time, councillors fall in line behind their president, rarely questioning the USC Board of Directors.

Since anyone I vote for will likely back everything put forward by the president, why should I listen to candidates or even vote at all?

If USC President Fab Dolan had promised me more tater tots in last year’s election, I would be spending this year’s election asking candidates why they didn’t hold Dolan accountable for that promise.

Maybe I would ask about other promises that matter to me as a student. For example, something involving a holiday-house check program sounds familiar. Or I would ask which way a candidate voted on last week’s Student Refugee Program, which was defeated and won’t reach referendum.

Students should care about elections because they present the opportunity to hold council accountable for how they acted the previous year, and hopefully help change things in the future.

USC presidents serve only a one-year term. It’s tough holding them to task for their performance. But the council that toes the line behind the present each year is the same council producing candidates in each year’s USC presidential race.

It sounds preachy, but students should care about the USC elections because, in two weeks, we’re stuck with whoever gets voted in.

It may be far in the future, but if students ask tough questions this year, anyone with ambitions to run for upper-level positions next year will know they had better have answers about what happened to those tater tots we were promised.

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