By Kerry Wall
Time and time again, students have resisted the call to vote in student government elections because, they say, the establishment doesn’t have an impact on their lives.
An organization that puts together events, acts as your voice to the administration and the media and is charged with the task of acting on your behalf doesn’t have an impact on your life? If you’re reading this before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, you can still vote in the 2006 RSU executive and board elections.
The outcome is going to affect you. You might as well vote. It just makes sense. The Ryerson Students’ Union executive handles the union’s day-to-day operations. Its members are the human faces of an organization that represents the entire student body. Have a concern or a question? Call them. Their job is to listen to you.
The Board of Directors consists of student representatives from each faculty, Academic Council, course unions, the RSU executive and the Board of Governors. The board makes decisions on behalf of the entire student body about RSU policies, events and services. Its job is also (surprise!) to listen to you.
How do you feel knowing that during this past election, these representatives’ campaigns have bordered on vicious (and that’s putting it nicely)? And then there’s the apathy. Fewer than 100 students showed up for the only all-candidates debate on Feb. 9. Most of those in attendance were friends of the candidates and media. Of course, it doesn’t help that the student government didn’t really bother publicizing the event; why should it?
The regulars only need their friends to keep voting and your vote only lessens their chances of winning. So they benefit from your apathy. Are we to presume that the only people interested in this elections are those who have friends in the running? RSU (formerly RyeSAC) voter participation has never been stellar.
Turnout for the 2004 RyeSAC election was a pitiful 11 per cent. But at the same time, campaigns such as these make it hard to blame the student body for its apathy. Parts of this election campaign have been contentious to the point of hyperbole. Accusations of dishonesty have been made. Demerit points have been flying every which way. All that’s missing is the suggestion that one slate or another will spend your RSU fees on beer and popcorn.
“Gross misrepresentation of facts” is practically becoming a new buzzword, ? la “culture of entitlement.” At press time, a presidential candidate was one demerit point away from disqualification. This candidate and the other three members of her slate can argue convincingly as to why this is inappropriate.
Unless students get out there, get the facts and make their own decisions, discourse may not rise about people calling other people liars. But how does one decide which accused liar is telling the truth?
The Eyeopener is not telling you how to vote. We’re just telling you to make an informed choice and then vote, period.