Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SUS Elections- Turnout and Endorsements

It would seem that SUS elections are facing a record-low turnout this year. So far, voter turnout is only about 1/3 of what it was last year. Granted, elections haven't really been promoted all that much- there have been reminders on the Science-wide email, as well as through other mailing lists. I would thus highly encourage everyone who has not yet voted to vote before noon tomorrow, where the voting period officially ends. So for everyone sitting at home and reading this- you have about 14 hours to match last year's turnout! So go to WebCT and vote- it will seriously take no more than about 1 minute of your time.

I do have some conjectures as to why voter turnout is so low, however. Despite the push for election advertising this year, many candidates are running unopposed, which reduces the incentive to really promote one's candidacy. Sadly, even with yes/no votes, it is highly unlikely that enough people will vote No to keep a candidate out of office, no matter how unqualified. Candidates who do have competition I feel are relying on popularity, to some degree, although there are some candidates who are definitely pushing to advertise elections and do classroom announcements- Jimmy Yan, Andrew Hurlburt, and Tagh Sira are among the candidates who have done so. The problem is that 3 people telling others to vote is not enough- you definitely need a critical mass of people promoting the elections to see a shift in attitude. When many students don't even bother to read emails that come from UBC/their faculty, promotion becomes much more important, and I'm not sure that enough is being done. I haven't seen the same level of posterage as in the past years. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that voting should also happen on paper, as it's much easier to get people walking by Ladha to vote right then and there than to get them to go get their laptops and then log in to do so.

Now, in terms of endorsements... I know some of the candidates too well personally to say definitively who I prefer, but I can do some analysis.

This one is tough- it's a hard choice between Tagh and Jimmy. Tagh has the advantage of having been on a variety of committees, he knows how the university works, he's a good team player, and he'll have lots of time on his hands next year (he's delaying graduating in order to run for the position, and last I heard he's intending to take 1 course next year, leaving him lots of time to do SUS stuff). He has been IT Manager this year, but that's also about all the SUS experience he has. Jimmy, on the other hand, has more SUS experience, having been VPI for 2 years, but is also going to be taking a full (or more than full) course load next year and will be writing an Honours thesis (before you all get suspicious of how I know this- we're in the same program, and I'll be in the same boat), which I feel would limit his time. He also has a more aggressive leadership style. That's about as much as I can say- the rest is up to voters, and I'd encourage you all to check out their platforms.

For all the unopposed positions, I am voting Yes. I know all of the candidates personally, and feel they would do a fine job in their positions.

I would vote for Bryan Tomlinson. I have had the pleasure of working with him in the past, and he is a very dedicated individual, and really does things on time. While Aaron has served on Council for longer, there have been rumblings of unhappiness about the job he has done as Director of Finance this year, and the budget for the 2008-2009 year was only passed at the end of November. He will also have his hands full with SLFS, which I feel would detract from the Senate job should be win that as well.

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Andrew Hurlburt is my pick- he's shown great enthusiasm, which is hugely important in this position, and he's had lots of experience with running similar events. He's also been involved with Council for a while, and knows the ropes, so to speak. He would definitely be my pick.

This one is hard in the sense that I find it difficult to choose 4 candidates. So I only chose 2. My picks were Tahara, who has had a lot of experience, although I wished she would come to more meetings this year and let people know what's going on with the AMS. My other pick would be Justin, who has shown enthusiasm, dedication, but most importantly a genuine care for students, which I feel is a rare quality among people who run for the position. I know that's a bit harsh, but I think I'd like to see some effort to help the student community from a lot of the candidates, or at least some commitment to coming to Council meetings, getting to know the system, and actually being transparent about what goes on in the AMS. The AMS should not be used as a chance to launch a career in politics, it shouldn't be used as an opportunity to fill your resume up with impressive-sounding committee names, nor should it be joined for the purposes of hanging out with people you might know. The job entails representing students' interests- which can't really be done unless people actually talk to students, or at least attend Council meetings and talk to people there. This isn't a general seat- this is a seat for Science students, and as such, it is Science students' interests that must be represented. I'm slightly disenchanted with some of the other candidates, so please don't make me pick.

That concludes tonight's verbose discussion of more politics. Stay tuned for results!