All Posts Tagged With: "University Students Council"
What students are talking about today (January 17th)
1. Gloria Dickie, editor in chief of Western University’s The Gazette has written an editorial suggesting democracy on campus is under threat after the paper was told their office, which they have occupied since 1973, is being considered as the new site of a multi-faith space—a bigger priority according to the University Students’ Council. They’ve been offered a smaller space instead. She writes that the move comes after USC proposed cutting the paper’s budget, asked to sit in on editorial meetings and considered a ban on in-person interviews. Adam Fearnall, USC president, told National Post that, “on occasion, perhaps [The Gazette] is overdramatic.” But many journalists on Twitter have sided with the editor. “Got to hand it to this year’s USC. Previous editions almost never managed to become national laughing stocks. Aim high! Purple pride!” wrote UWO alumnus and Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells. It now looks like Dickie may get her way. After committing to further discussions, Fearnall told the Gazette on Wednesday: “I was pleased that we were able to make progress on these important issues. Students rely upon the Gazette and the USC to sustain a strong student voice.”
Bacon shortage. Study-space shortage. The #1 poker school.
1. In a Yale University study, 127 scientists were given information on supposed recent graduates applying for laboratory jobs. A fake applicant named John tended to be viewed as more competent than a fake applicant named Jennifer, despite identical qualifications. The conclusion is that women will find it harder to get science jobs than men. The anti-female bias wasn’t limited to male professors; women were just as biased.
2. Feist, the only nominee to have been on Sesame Street, sung at the Grammys and been in an Apple commercial, took home the $30,000 Polaris Music Prize last night for her album Metals. Feist gave a humble speech and toasted fellow nominees Cold Specks and Grimes. Ironically, the Polaris Prize is supposed to be a counterweight to sales-focused Juno’s, where Feist tends to clean up (she has eight).
3. Bacon fans, you may want to be sitting down for this one. “A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable,” according the National Pig Association in Britain.
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.
Police will criminally charge Keith Horwood
Keith Horwood, a Western University alumnus, admitted to being behind the hacking of the student union’s elections website earlier this week.
Shortly after online voting began Tuesday, students noticed references to Justin Bieber’s haircut, Selena Gomez and the “university erection.”
Horwood will be charged criminally, a campus police official told the Western Gazette.
Police said they had suspected Horwood before he released this video apology on YouTube.
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.
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.