All Posts Tagged With: "Student Elections"
Elections bring music videos, apps, streaming & more
Student elections are underway across the country. Increasingly, student politicians are turning to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get their messages out. On top of that, in an attempt to attract more students to polling stations, those who administer campus elections have also taken advantage of these tools. Here are five innovative examples from 2013:
1. YouTube music video. At Western University, Ashley McGuire, Blake Barkley and Jordan Sojnocki teamed up to run for the University Students’ Council executive. Along with a sleek campaign website and a detailed platform, the trio created a music video and uploaded it to YouTube. What’s impressive is that, since posting it on Jan. 28, the video has received 10,500 views. However, members of Team McGuire were not successful in their election bids.
2. iPhone app. Team Whelan (Patrick Whelan, Amir Eftekharpour and Sam Krishnapillai) ran against Ashley McGuire’s team at Western University. This team’s electoral victories may have been aided by their iPhone app. I tested it on my iPod Touch 4G. To my surprise, it ran flawlessly. Under the Get Involved tab, users are able to join the team’s mailing list, suggest an idea and become a volunteer. The team’s platform is also easily accessible via the app.
3. The QR Code. When campus election season comes along, buildings are plastered with posters. So how are student politicians attracting students to their websites? Simple! They’re incorporating Quick Response (QR) codes to their posters that make it easy to access their sites without even having to type in a URL. Apps such as ScanLife, QR Code Scanner and Optiscan use one’s phone camera to scan a two-dimensional barcode. Once scanned, the app brings users to the site. Sarah Lavers, Kelsey Marr and Anastasia Smallwood all ran for president in the recent University of Prince Edward Island Student Union election and incorporated QR codes. Smallwood came first.*
4. Blogs. Platforms such as Blogger and WordPress allow users to create blogs free of charge. Student politicians have seized the opportunity to communicate directly with their electorates. Candidates like Caroline Wong, who ran for and won the position of president in the University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society elections, used WordPress to create her campaign website.
5. Video streaming and recording. When organizing all-candidate debates, election officials will never accommodate every student’s schedule. In an attempt to make these debates as accessible as possible, election officials have taken to live streaming and/or filming the debates and posting the videos to YouTube. Free video live streaming websites such as USTREAMand Livestream allow anybody with a video camera or an iPhone to stream free of charge. The Argosy, Mount Alison University’s student newspaper, posted videos of candidate speeches to its YouTube account.
Brandon Clim studies political science at the University of Ottawa. Follow him @climbrandon.
*Due to an error in editing, this post incorrectly stated that Lavers came first and Marr came second in the UPEISU election. In fact, Smallwood came first, followed by Lavers and Marr.
The ups and downs of online polls in student elections
Sarah Petz, a reporter with the Manitoban student newspaper, is disappointed that so few of her fellow students bothered to vote in last month’s University of Manitoba Students’ Union election. “At seven per cent,” she says, “the result is not very representative.” It’s not that there weren’t clear differences between candidates. There were. The Manitoban uploaded candidate interviews to YouTube and shared them on Twitter. It wrote about issues from printer breakdowns to the construction delays on the opening of the ﬁrst campus pub. And yet, despite it all, only 1,900 of the 26,000 eligible students exercised their right to decide who will run the $1-million organization for the next year-long term.
But just because Petz was disappointed, don’t assume she was surprised. “Beyond a small group of highly active students,” she says, “no one seems to care.” Turnout is often low at the U of M. It’s not much better at the University of Toronto, where only 10 per cent of students voted this year, and worse at York University where turnout was just ﬁve per cent in 2011. But low voter turnout isn’t inevitable. Not anymore. At McMaster University, where students receive ballots in their campus inboxes that they can ﬁll out on iPads, laptops or smartphones, turnout hit 33 per cent this year. That’s up from 24 per cent last year, 22 per cent the year before and much higher than the 13 per cent turnout in 2009, back before they ditched paper and pens.
Pettigrew: The apathy only adds to the excitement
It’s easy to get down on university student elections. They almost seem designed to encourage apathy. After all, the winners typically hold office for only a year, too short a time to make much meaningful change before the next administration takes over.
And even when student leaders are in office, they are generally powerless to effect the changes students really want—particularly lower tuitions which are firmly controlled by senior administration, boards of governors, and provincial governments.
Add to this the fact that most university voters are only going to be around for a short time—not long enough to get much benefit out of any changes that are made—and you have a perfect storm of voter apathy.
Canadian voters in general lament that voter turnout is down near 60 per cent. That number seems huge compared to most student elections like the 11 per cent that’s apparently common at The University of Manitoba.
But low turnout shouldn’t lead us to dismiss student elections altogether, because the very things that make them less than exciting for student voters make them fun for outside observers like me.
Voters asked to choose Justin Bieber’s haircut in “erection”
A hacker at Western University has sabotaged the University Student Council elections by asking voters to pick Justin Bieber’s haircut, suggesting “Selena Gomez is wonderful” and by renaming the process the “University erection,” reports the Western Gazette. It was noticed on Valentine’s Day and online voting was shut down. The vote tallies weren’t hacked, say USC officials, but the two days of polls will be thrown out and a new vote is forthcoming, writes the London Free Press.
Second-place team remains disqualified, neither slate will have expenses reimbursed
The team that won March’s Concordia Student Union election will take office after all.
Two weeks ago, the chief electoral officer disqualified all the candidates from the two main slates, accusing them of multiple election rule violations. On Wednesday, the student union’s judicial board overturned his decision to disqualify the members of Your Concordia, which won the executive along with a majority on council, according to board chair Bella Ratner.
The Your Concordia slate had received harsh criticism from elections chief Oliver Cohen, who banned members of the group from running in CSU elections for two years.
However, the board did uphold Cohen’s decision to disqualify the Action slate, which won nine of 29 council seats and one of four student seats on the university’s senate.
The board also upheld Cohen’s decision not to reimburse the slates for election expenses, over allegations of over-spending.
A full judicial board report will be issued next week.
A small number of independent candidates also stood in the election, however all of the positions were won by members of the two slates.
Student union executive who resigned running for re-election with opposition slate
The sudden resignation of a Concordia Student Union vice president on March 3 may have been pre-election posturing.
Morgan Pudwell announced her resignation with an email accusing the current CSU executive of, among other things, financial mismanagement. Last week, a CSU council meeting descended into chaos when councillors voted to move into closed session to discuss Pudwell’s resignation.
On Monday night, campaigning for the upcoming CSU elections began. CSU elections have a strong party system, candidates for the executive stand as teams, or slates, and candidates for council, who are elected individually, tend to affiliate themselves with an executive slate.
Pudwell is standing for vice president with Your Concordia and the slate has turned her accusations and the reaction to them into election issues. In an interview with student newspaper the Link, Pudwell claimed that she was only approached to stand with the slate after her resignation.
But considering the amount of work that goes into organizing a CSU election campaign, I find it difficult to believe that a slate would switch one of its vice presidential candidates less than two weeks before the beginning of the campaign. It also seems pretty clear that Pudwell’s opponents knew something was up, an open letter criticizing her was released on March 9, and signed by several members of the Action slate.
It’s worth noting that while Your Concordia may be an opposition slate, it’s hardly a group of CSU outsiders. Several members of the group, including presidential candidate Lex Gill, were elected to council last year as members of the slate headed up by the current executive.
It’s also going to be interesting to see how the Link handles election coverage, Gill and the paper’s editor-in-chief, Justin Giovannetti share a blog. While this certainly isn’t a secret, I wonder whether the average Link reader would be aware of it. Giovannetti has said, on Twitter, that he won’t be writing about the election. But writing isn’t the only area with the potential for conflicts of interest when a newspaper editor has close ties to a political candidate. (UPDATE: Link editor says steps taken to prevent conflict of interest)
SFUO board of administration need to follow their own policies, too
It’s going too far to compare the students’ union at the University of Ottawa to the line of despots tumbling to protesters in Africa and the Middle East. But that’s not stopping students.
The student union’s board of administration voted through a motion to remove the student arbitration committee from all electoral processes. Then the very next day voted to remove a winning candidate from the election, naming the second-place candidate the winner.
The big problem being that the now-defunct arbitration committee is the winning candidate’s only recourse against the decision to remove him from the race.
In his words, it’s “anti-constitutional.” But students angry at the seemingly anti-democratic election are taking matters into their own hands. A small group of students took over the offices of the student union yesterday to protest the March 2 disqualification of Tristan Dénommée.
Like most stories, this one is likely more complicated on the inside than we can tell from the outside. But therein lies the Board of Administration’s problem.
The action of justice being done is equally important to the appearance of justice being done. People need to see justice in action, and believe in it, to legitimize the system.
By naming themselves sole arbiter of everything electoral and then naming a preferred candidate in one fell swoop, they give the impression of being power-hungry, rather than acting in the best interests of students.
Under the electoral by-laws governing the U of O’s student elections, any vacancy in the executive positions, which includes the thrown out vice-president-elect of finance, is to be met with a strict set of procedures.
The Board is allowed to appoint an interim person to hold the position until a by-election is held. The key words being “interim” and “until.” If the Board wants to appoint the second-place candidate, they are free to do so.
But given the student reaction, and the convenient annihilation of any recourse for the winning candidate, the Board is faced with only one option that will solve all their problems: Announce a date for the by-election. Policy states that it must run between Sept. 15 and Oct. 31 this fall.
To preserve the image of justice, showing students their voice does in fact matter, the board needs to follow through on their own policies.
Error in vote reading changes “Yes” vote from 76% to 71% and fails to get 75% needed to pass
I’m pleased to report that UBC student politics are still as screwed up as ever. Due to incompetence of those hired to run the elections, students thought that Blake Frederick had been fired as AMS President, only to have results reversed 16 hours later.
Last year, you may remember that Frederick filed a human rights complaint to the United Nations, which was followed by Student Council, despite having overwhelming public support, proving themselves utterly unable to impeach him. Politics are fun.
When democracy doesn’t work well, people tend to believe that direct democracy can be a magical cure-all. So, a whopping 9 referendum questions were on the ballot in this year’s elections—including whether to impeach Frederick. It wasn’t going to be easy—per the AMS’ bylaws, it required 75 per cent to pass, and at least 3716 students (or 8% of AMS members) had to vote in favour as well.
And yet, Friday night, when election results were announced, the only referendum question to pass was…Impeaching Frederick!
The crowd roared. Beer flowed. Life was good. Even though the newly elected President (Bijan Ahmadian) was going to take office in two weeks time anyway, students against Frederick had scored a symbolic victory.
Not so fast.
Earlier today, the results were reversed. The Elections Committee announced that instead of 76 per cent of students voting for impeachment, only 71.2 per cent did. As a result, Frederick was saved—again.
“Reorganization of the output of the ballot referendum questions led to misappropriation of tabulated results,” Elections Administrator Isabel Ferreras told The Ubyssey, which is a wonderful jargony way of saying “we read it wrong.” AMS Elections are held almost exclusively online through online ballots.
Ironically, the question “Should the AMS actively lobby for reduced tuition fees and increased government funding?”, which supporters of Frederick put on the ballot to vindicate his belief that UBC students should do as much as possible to get tuition reduced, originally didn’t have enough “yes” votes to pass quorum. However, that decision was also reversed after the Elections Committee realized their mistake.
In conclusion, Frederick is still president, his belief that the AMS should lobby for lower tuition has been accepted by students, and yet, 71.2 per cent of students voted for his impeachment. I’m not sure what all of this means, except that once again the largest student union in Canada looks pretty silly. What else is new?
Sidenote: The question on whether students should pay a $5 penalty that would go to student engagement if they failed to vote, which our own Noah Mazereeuw took a hard stance against, failed badly, with only 37.7% voting in favour of the measure.
AMS is at it again with a proposal to impose a $5 punishment on non-voters.
In yet another ridiculous move on the part of the UBC Alma Mater Society, the country’s largest student union is proposing a $5 fine imposed on all students at the beginning of the year, to be refunded only if you vote in their elections. While I tend to agree with Nietzsche that those who don’t want to participate in democracy shouldn’t be forced to, since their lack of interest will actually harm the democratic process, the AMS seems to be suggesting that the electorate will be suddenly motivated to rigorously research and weigh all the candidates, making the decision they think is best for their school and enhancing the oh-so-important-and-relevant democratic process of student union elections. Ha ha ha.
In fact, the AMS would really just be herding uninterested cows into the ring to mindlessly moo in order to avoid a fee. The random button clicking that would surely ensue (voting for AMS elections is done online) would ultimately reduce the representativeness of the union, replace quality with quantity, and degrade the democratic process in favor of louder mooing.
Let’s hope those who actually vote voluntarily on this referendum, which is being proposed alongside the AMS general election this week, do so with more thought than would be on display next year should this proposal pass.
Why they do it, where it leads, and what it’s really worth
I hate the term “student leader.” I think a lot of people do. It just seems smarmy and self-congratulatory. And I’m speaking as a guy who lived that role. I can only imagine how the term must aggravate other people. And yet, we do need folks to run our student unions and our residence councils and our campus media and our clubs and more besides. And often we want to talk about those people as a group. So for lack of a better term I’ll call them student leaders.
Some recent discussion about student politics and student politicians (see here and here) got me thinking about this topic. Surrounding the debate about the appropriate role of unions and the right (or lack thereof) of elected students to hold and express their individual opinions, there were a few references to the perceived benefits and opportunities that come along with leadership roles on campus. I’ve heard it all before. Quite a lot of people seem to believe that the whole student leadership scene is just using it all to get … something. Something more than just the opportunity to do the job, anyway. Maybe that’s why the term is so annoying.
Now I don’t want to get into an extensive debate about what union execs are getting paid (see here for that debate) or whether it’s appropriate. That’s only a small fraction of the many student leaders on campus anyway. A very few students get paid something approaching real salaries to do essentially full time jobs. Some others receive honorariums that are probably quite small in relation to the amount of work they put in. And most are simply volunteers. But even the best paid aren’t receiving more than they’d earn for entry-level clerical work. So let’s just agree that it isn’t about the money, and when people suggest there’s something selfish going on they mean something different.
Back to this idea that students get involved in these positions with the expectation of some secondary gain. Most often this accusation is very vague. “Oh, you don’t really care about X (the club, the union, the position), you’re just in it for yourself.” But that’s got to mean something like awards, personal connections, job opportunities, political careers, etc. We’ve already excluded money as a realistic motive, and it makes no sense to suggest that someone is using one student position only to get to another student position. The end goal has to be something more significant than that – some reward or advantage that comes after university is done.
Brief pause. There is always the rare instance of actual abuse. Unfortunately, any time someone has access to a budget and some responsibility there is the chance they might do something fraudulent. Here’s one example of that. I would never attempt to excuse or justify anything like this. I’ll just say that it happens in student activities just as it happens everywhere else. People steal from charities too. It’s very sad. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about every student leadership position I’ve ever held or interacted with. It’s worth basically nothing to just have the job. I mean it. Sure you can use it as a line on your CV. But then people fill their CVs with bullshit all the time. And if you really want to create an impressive sounding title for yourself just invent a club, register it with your Student Affairs office (or local equivalent) and declare yourself President. It’s very easy. And exactly because it’s easy to manufacture empty claims of this sort, anyone who might possibly care about your activities on campus will not be suckered in by lines of empty crap. Will they care about what you’ve really done on campus? Very possibly they will. But now we’re talking about your actual work and achievements – not the mere fact that you filled a position and held a title.
I definitely know students who found their direction as a result of some role on campus – elected or otherwise. I’m one of them. Certainly there’s a lot of what I do, right now, that I can trace back in some way to my student union days. But I could never have guessed at where I’d end up when the whole thing started. And that’s also true of just about everyone I know. Building on your experiences, finding some success at the things you do well and getting noticed for that … there’s nothing illegitimate about it. That’s just the way people build careers in any environment. And sure, that happens in student leadership as well. Maybe academic advocacy leads you eventually to law school, as it did in my case. Maybe experience with the student press leads to a career in journalism. But not automatically. Not just because you won an election or got hired for a job.
Addressing the question of personal stands on potentially divisive off campus issues, for union execs
A piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the limits of an elected student’s mandate seems to have generated some buzz. A political blog from Queens picked up the topic in connection with local issues. Justin McElroy ran a riff off the topic on this site. And I’ve heard from a few student politicians (or former ones) on the subject.
Now I’ve just received this question. Note that I’ve made all the details more general, to avoid putting anyone on the spot.
My fellow union executives and I recently decided to participate together in an event, off-campus, that has some political overtones. Some of us, although they supported it, were highlighting whether or not this was the union taking a stance on something that they felt is seen as political and if that is appropriate. The event is important to at least one identity group on campus, and we see our participation as a way to support diversity. But it’s possible that some students might disagree.
In our union we have a very strict policy that we don’t pass motions dealing with political things (ie. The war in Afghanistan) and while I feel this is a different case I’d like your opinion on it.
Well first off, thanks for the interesting question! In order to answer it, I’ve got to introduce another idea that is foundational to my understanding of student politics. I believe that just because someone becomes elected to a position in some organization – even if that may be the presidency of the organization – that person’s identity does not become entirely subsumed to the organization itself. In other words, there is still the individual. There is the somewhat prominent student, who may still do things on his or her own behalf, and there is the person who holds office in the organization and may do things on the organization’s behalf. Keeping those two roles distinct from one another is very important.
Union executives are fairly prominent figures – at least among students. I’ll compare them to city counselors only in miniature. Not everything a city counselor says or does is endorsed by the city or needs to reflect on the city’s official position on issues. Now, if the counselor says or does something particularly stupid, embarrassing, or toxic that’s a different story. The fact that the counselor is embarrassing him or herself does affect the city – but only by reflection. If a counselor speaks on behalf of some cause or shows up at some event that doesn’t mean the city supports that cause or event. Not even if the mayor does it. The city has its official policy but city officials still have their individual identities. And so too do student figures on campus.
So, to answer the question. I think if your union were to pass a formal motion supporting this event or the cause it is associated with that would be outside of what I feel is an appropriate union mandate. That just goes back to the original article. Similarly, if you were going to spend student money on the cause that would amount to the same thing. But merely showing up doesn’t need to imply that your union is taking a formal stand. You can still show up as prominent students who want to show your support for the cause. And there is nothing at all wrong with that.
I’ll grant you, once the entire union executive shows up that does send a clear message. But the message is only that you happen to agree on this issue. Unless you show up on behalf of all the students you represent, or presume to speak on their behalf, you aren’t binding them to your individual views on the subject. And I firmly believe elected students remain entitled to their individual views. As particularly prominent students on campus others may be interested to know how you feel about things. Feel free to share your opinions (and potentially deal with the criticisms that may follow) but the opinions can remain your own and need not reflect on the union unless you intentionally cross that line.
All of this implies one necessary limitation. If you aren’t showing up as representatives of the union you have no right to require anyone to show up. So while your mail seems to suggest that everyone is on board, if there were one or more execs who would prefer not to participate I would say that’s their right. As soon as you say that someone has to show up as a function of their role in the union then your union is clearly taking a stand. If you communicate clearly that showing up is a personal decision for each participant that would go a long way toward avoiding the perception that you are taking an official union stand on the issue.
I’m really glad this topic has received so much attention, and I’m particularly glad to hear from union execs who agree that unions are strongest and most effective when they stick to core student issues. It’s so easy to push the rhetoric in the other direction, and succumb to accusations that if you don’t use your control over the students’ union to promote a particular cause or agenda then you obviously must not care. Of course students care – about any number of things. But it’s possible to support a cause wholeheartedly and still debate the best way to promote that cause. Grappling honestly with these issues is part of what student leadership is all about.
Questions are welcome at email@example.com. Even the ones I don’t post will still receive answers, and where I do use them here I’ll remove identifying information.
Some advice for the student leaders among us, and those who live with their actions
Ever year students elect various representatives to run their unions, to sit on the governing bodies of their institutions, to head their various clubs and organizations, and to speak for them in numerous diverse roles. The full list would be impossible to compile, but I’m sure that any mid-sized university has literally hundreds of elected students in any given year. The most vocal and influential students are typically the union executives. And every year a new crop of students faces some interesting questions. How best to serve students? What should they do with their terms in office? What are the limits of the mandate they have received?
Actually, some student leaders never get as far as that third question. And that is a source of great frustration for many students. Students tend not to think of the question in abstract terms, of course. But when there’s some concrete example at hand they get there fast enough. Some student politician is off doing … something. And at least some students respond with “what?!? I didn’t elect him or her to go do that.”
I take it as assumed that there are limits to the mandate of every elected student, and every student organization. In fact I take it as assumed that there are limits to the mandate of any elected person or organization period. We agree that there are things even our government shouldn’t do – such as tell us how to worship – and therefore there are subjects even our highest elected officials shouldn’t presume to touch on our behalf. So if we can agree there are things our government shouldn’t do and even our Prime Minister shouldn’t touch (as our representative – what he does as an individual is quite different) I’m sure we can agree there are limits to what a union should do, or how far union executives should go in terms of speaking for their members. The really good question is: where are those limits?
I have always believed that the mandate of any elected student is to speak on behalf of student issues. Now let me be clear on that. I mean issues that directly touch on the experiences that students have as students rather than the experiences they may have as individuals. I’ll give you a direct example. I believe it is well within the mandate of a students’ union to stand up for an oppression-free environment on campus. I believe everything possible should be done to advance that goal. But I do not believe that the students’ union should take a hand in advancing social causes more broadly.
Some may view those positions as contradictory. Some will say that as long as you tolerate a social ill anywhere (and tolerance, for them, is defined as anything short of active resistance) then you can’t take a consistent position against it locally. I prefer the opposite way of conceiving of this dichotomy. In a very real sense, ensuring that the campus is oppression-free is the way you take on the broader issue. Do everything you can locally. And ideally, if everyone were to do that, then you would indeed address the problem as a whole.
As student leaders go (in my case, former student leader) I’m probably in the minority in my perspective. Many student leaders willingly and gleefully take on issues that are well outside the scope of anything that is going on within their school environments. They do this for a variety of reasons. Sometimes because students demand it – almost invariably a small minority. Sometimes because issues in the moment grab headlines and attention. Sometimes because the union leadership itself has particular sympathies and agendas. And most often, in my personal opinion, simply because the union leadership is actually quite powerless when it comes to these broad social issues, and therefore is free from any responsibility to be constructive. Allow me to elaborate.
Believe it or not – and this may come as a shock to some students who haven’t seen university administration from the inside – elected students actually have quite a lot of power and influence. Or they have a lot of power and influence, I should say, on a fairly narrow stretch of turf. When it comes to influencing institutional policy, students can do a lot, if they are willing to do it in dialogue with the administration, and to deal with all the crap and compromise and hard work and details that it entails. Dealing with the administration is very hard work. It’s messy and complicated and you never get exactly what you want and along the way you’re forced to learn all kinds of facts about why things currently work the way they do and what the consequences will be (intended and otherwise) to changing those things. Real change is difficult.
By contrast, when you aren’t trying to institute real and immediate change, but rather only want to make a statement in principle, then your job is very easy. You organize a protest. You make some big signs. You pass some resolutions in broad language and write a cheque to some external organization that makes grandiose claims regarding their long-term agenda. You issue some media statements. And at the end of the day you feel like you’ve accomplished something. It’s actually quite easy – compared with all the detail work of making local change – and best of all it requires no compromise or even any close understanding of opposing views. Is it any surprise that many student leaders go this route?
The phrase “that’s been done before” comes to mind.
recovering former student activist turned professor of post-secondary education studies, I continue to maintain a keen interest in the student press and student politics, especially on my own campus. Only two of five executive positions are being contested in the on-going Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU) election. One of the candidates, Cameron Campbell, has an entertaining campaign advertisement up on YouTube.
Have a look. It’s quite creative, though I’m not really clear on the platform. It’s very reliant on love:
Two more elections to note. Voter turnout at UBC was only 1214.4 per cent. The winner of the presidential race, Blake Frederick, was disqualified by the Elections Committee for “slate-like” behaviour. The Alma Mater Society at UBC banned slates a few years ago, a good background article on the ban was published in The Ubyssey [...]
Two more elections to note.
Voter turnout at UBC was only
1214.4 per cent.
The winner of the presidential race, Blake Frederick, was disqualified by the Elections Committee for “slate-like” behaviour. The Alma Mater Society at UBC banned slates a few years ago, a good background article on the ban was published in The Ubyssey this week. (I’m planning to write on the slate-ban this weekend)
Turnout at Ryerson was up, but still very low by national standards at 14 per cent. (Thanks to Cassandra Jowett for noting this in a comment on my blog)
Voter turnout at St. Francis Xavier remains the envy of every campus in Canada with an amazing 60.
24 per cent.
Two more student elections to note. Voter turnout is up at the University of Western Ontario where 9,470 students voted in the student union elections this week. Western has about 25,000 undergraduate students. Emily Rowe, whose campaign video was the topic of one my recent posts, won with 3,957 votes. Voter turnout was down at [...]
Two more student elections to note.
Voter turnout is up at the University of Western Ontario where 9,470 students voted in the student union elections this week. Western has about 25,000 undergraduate students. Emily Rowe, whose campaign video was the topic of one my recent posts, won with 3,957 votes.
Voter turnout was down at McMaster University with only 13 per cent of students voting. Vishal Tiwari, the current vice-president education of the McMaster Students’ Union, won the preferential vote with 59.27% of votes after eight rounds of counting. Tiwari received 861 first choice votes.
Political elites to get results hours before release to students
The Cord Weekly reports that a Scantron malfunction requires hand-counting of 3,000 ballots in the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union election.
Each race will be counted separately and candidates in those races will be told the results immediately upon completion of the count in their race.
As for regular students; they will have to wait until after results of all the races are known.
It is expected that presidential candidates will know their results around 5 a.m., followed by other races steadly throughout the day. The final counts, of referendum results, are expected to finish sometime near 5 p.m.
Results will be provided to regular students at that time.
Nevermind how absurb the idea of giving results to candidates but not students is. Does the WLUSU really believe the information is not going to leak out anyway?
Now, on top of questions about the decision; the WLUSU has created itself the headache of trying to enforce a confidentiality arrangement.
I’m expecting results will leak soon; check out The Cord Weekly website for updates.
It’s good, but also reinforces the idea that students politics are a popularity contest
I’ve been watching with some interest Internet discussions about a campaign video commissioned by Emily Rowe in her run for student president at The University of Western Ontario.
The video is play on the Discovery Channel’s popular “Boom De Ya Da!” ad. Instead of the world, the players in the video love Western.
It has gained widespread attention and is presently in the top 100 Canadian videos in its category on Youtube.
Wassim Garzouzi’s assessment is dead-on. Does the ad say anything about the candidate? No. It makes people feel good and, I agree with Wassim, it will result in people voting for her.
Does this matter? Yes and No. It reinforces the impression that students politics are a popularity contest. Yet, that isn’t much different than “real world” politics. Don’t get me wrong, the ad is effective but could have (as pointed out by a commenter at iwillrun.ca) included a website address or some contact information.
The video is a stroke of genius in finding a great pop culture campaign and modifying it for your own campaign. (If I were university admin, I would try to assist this video in becoming viral after the USC election.)
Student elections generally have little of substance instead focusing on buzzwords and pop culture.
Having read the USC candidates websites (as listed by the USC website) this afternoon, I see many of them are following the national trend of throwing out unoriginal buzzwords about sustainability, environmentalism, and better communication.
One candidate suggests a UWO wiki, there an interesting idea I haven’t seen elsewhere. However, this same candidate uses the three environmental Rs as the structure of her campaign. Another candidate takes the “I’m green” to the next level; she has a campaign poster of herself leaning on a recycling bin. Two other candidates give a knod to the green fad while not going overboard; after all, students are electing a SU president, not Captain Planet. Both list achievable goals. Refreshing.
(The other candidates don’t have websites listed on the USC website yet.)
Considering the USC is Canada’s largest student union when measured by revenue, one would hope for more ideas and lobbying plans.
That said, the real challenges a student leader will face during the year are unexpected and unpredictable. It is impossible to predict who will be able to raise to those challenges.
Back to the video. It’s not just getting noticed for its catchy use of pop culture. The original version had one minor, but embarrassing, error. When referring to Western’s orientation week, it used footage from Wilfrid Laurier’s orientation. The video was quickly removed, but not before people jumped on the error and a Facebook group entitled “Emily Rowe Loves Her Laurier.” It seems a group of Laurier students are having too much fun with the error.
Yet another students’ union in need of a better electoral process
Yet another students’ union in need of a better electoral process
The Guardian reports.
The Guardian reports.
YouTube – it’s a site students go to? right?
The Dalhousie Student Union elections office went out and created short "intro commercials" for the election candidates.
Most of the candidate statements are pretty much the same as last year and what you hear at any campus. The elections office has no control over the candidates themselves, so I can’t fault them for that, I have to give them credit for a well designed website and the effort involved in creating the YouTube videos.
CROs across the country take note. It be nice to see someone take this idea to the next level in the coming year – the creation of videos that go viral.