VP candidates don’t have to come from within

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 13, 2007 Ed Cartoon

This year’s University Students’ Council vice-presidential elections have produced a noticeably low number of candidates.

Six individuals applied for the four positions. Two positions were acclaimed, leaving four individuals to campaign for the other two positions.

It’s important not only to have qualified individuals running for these positions, but to have competition for each role to push candidates to work harder.

Competition and debate help voters learn who the candidates are, what they can do, how informed they are of various issues and how much effort they expend. This ensures the best candidates rise to the top.

Acclaimed positions require a vote of confidence but it’s questionable whether the process is taken seriously. Voters may accept a candidate to avoid the headache of reopening the position.

Perhaps the USC should’ve done a better job advertising the positions and encouraging people to run.

Council members themselves may be discouraged from running due to the USC’s seemingly “old boys club” feel. Candidates who have planned to run for some time and have large friend networks on Council may discourage others from running.

For those outside the USC, the positions may seem like part of an exclusive club. People might want to get involved, but the average student is unlikely to know what the different positions are, what their responsibilities are or when applications are accepted.

In presidential elections, candidates without USC experience are often viewed as jokes but, at the VP level, it could be beneficial to look elsewhere.

Several recent Board members weren’t voting members of the USC before they were elected, such as current communications officer Aron Yeomanson, who came from The Gazette, or Kelly Wilson, last year’s VP-campus issues, who came from the Women’s Issues Network. These Board members’ success shows outsiders can be effective.

The VP positions focus more on particular skills and issues; VPs from the outside could contribute those skills and new perspectives.

Additionally, the quieter summer period could be used to train outsiders; the VP-finance already takes a comprehensive training course. People dedicated to the role can learn the skills regardless of their background.

It probably wouldn’t make sense to reopen the positions this year due to a lack of candidates, but the USC should work to get more candidates next year. More effort to publicize the roles over the school year, talking to qualified individuals in areas like clubs and offering advice to interested individuals could entice candidates.

While quality is more important than quantity, competition makes qualified candidates work harder and results in better selection.

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