Reaching Quorum

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 26, 2009 Ed Cartoon

Students will soon be asked to vote on their second referendum this year, this time to determine whether Western undergraduate students are able to keep the bus pass offered by the London Transit Commission. Choosing whether this resource is one student’s wish to keep will rely on at least 20 per cent of the undergraduate population voting.

Considering this referendum will not get a voter boost from six candidates running for University Students’ Council president, it is now council’s responsibility to ensure quorum is met. Seeing as council itself almost failed to reach quorum voting to go to referendum in the first place, the importance is only heightened.

With that in mind, one may wonder whether an information-based campaign was a better choice over the yes/no campaigns held in the past few years for issues such as the University Community Centre renovation referendum.

After all, a yes/no campaign carries with it a certain amount of spectacle. Two sides waging battle against each other could create impassioned debate on campus. Two campaign teams might also be more likely to create general awareness than one information team.

However, it seems council made the right choice in pursuing an information campaign. Though councillors may have a vested interest as students, the USC as a corporation does not have an interest in the outcome of this issue. The student fee being debated pays an outside company to deliver students a specific service. It is a neutral proposition for the USC.

Furthermore, a singular presentation delivered alongside a strong “get out the vote” campaign will likely be more coherent than an argument between two sides that may distort the issues in this referendum.

Such distortion may have led to students not being aware of the basic facts of the referendum " namely voting no or not voting at all means an end to the bus pass; not a renegotiation, not an opt-out clause, but rather a return to students paying upwards of $550 per school year for the service they now receive at a substantially lower cost.

There have been positive signs already " the USC has set up a website and posters are popping up around campus.

So now, council as a whole must join together and ensure all of Western’s undergraduates know what is going on. It would be especially heartening to see next year’s USC president Emily Rowe live up to her campaign promise and work diligently to get students out to vote. One would also hope Board of Directors candidates will be as visible as possible on this issue.

Whether or not the referendum passes is only important as long as it is a choice. It would be a terrible shame if the democratic process is thwarted due to apathy and students lose their bus pass not because they chose to let it go, but because too few students bothered to vote at all.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette