A fresh approach to elections

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 6, 2007 Ed Cartoon

It’s time for Western’s pretty faces and smooth talkers to compete for students’ affection and admiration.

No, we ain’t talkin’ Valentine’s Day; we’re talkin’ University Students’ Council elections.

Election time means an assault of over-caffeinated campaign teams in bright T-shirts bellowing catchy slogans, UC Hill becoming a giant billboard, and the echo of microphones in the University Community Centre atrium during various debates and silly contests.

Within our pages, USC elections traditionally bring debate coverage and the “much-anticipated” quiz and report cards.

Status quo hasn’t cut it for The Gazette this year. We strive for change whenever possible and, naturally, think USC elections " and our own coverage " need a facelift.

It’s time to re-establish what students should expect from the next USC president and their newspaper.

Understandably, flashy campaigns featuring massive teams and witty branding won’t disappear; visibility is integral to gaining votes, especially in an apathetic community.

However, campaign visibility has seemingly trumped candidates’ actual platforms as the determining factor in recent elections. Campaigns are important, but voters value candidates’ philosophies more than the size of their soph armies.

The next USC president should arrive at the big dance prepared. We’re tired of pipe-dream promises fading away once a candidate is elected. Don’t guarantee hot tubs for the UCC basement only to learn months later it “isn’t feasible.” Do your research now and wow voters with foolproof ideas.

And if you don’t do your research, we’ll do it for you, so you’re better off feeling stupid in private than having us reveal your blunders to 30,000 readers.

While this year’s USC has been more visible, it’s made too many decisions without consulting students. If next year’s president listens, they’ll understand exactly what students want; if you “guess” what they want, you end up with a wasted off-campus restaurant proposal.

Lastly, any USC president should know their role. They should understand not only their basic duties, but those of the Board of Directors and councillors. Students elect a leader assuming that leader knows what they’re getting into.

We Gazetters would never demand more from the USC without offering more ourselves. Readers can expect stripped-down election coverage this year. No more debate stories featuring one sound-byte per candidate or cutesy-wutesy quizzes asking them if they know Paul Davenport’s birthday.

We’ll introduce you to candidates earlier and give you not just information, but detailed analysis on their platforms. We also want voters’ input; tell us what you want from your next president and we’ll publish your opinions.

Best of luck, candidates. Here’s to a clean, honest campaign and the most comprehensive coverage possible.

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