The University of Toronto Student Union (not what I usually call them) are holding their elections this week. I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just state: I am not voting in this election. The process is so flawed and slanted toward favouring the same students each year that I don’t see the point in voting and giving these individuals reason to believe that any student casting a ballot is participating in an election. UTSU took away any choices that we had in this election by eliminating the “opposition”.
I have a lot to say on this matter, but one question keeps coming to mind: what are they afraid of? These individuals who, year after year, organize these “slates” and try to maintain the ideologies of the deeply sickening Canadian Federation of Students (never have I heard of a more hypocritical and polarizing organization). What are these incumbent slates afraid of? Many of them haven’t been students for years. What are you afraid will happen if you let real students, not even “take over”, but merely have a chance to run in an election? Could it be the comfortable salaries? The ability to do whatever you want at your “workplace”? Or the idea that you’re somehow relevant and the real world is too scary for you? I just can’t understand why some people are working so hard to make sure their friends and allies stay in power at the student union.
One thing’s for sure: UTSU is an organization that claims to represent all students, “students working for students”, with no real results. Take, for example, a platform point from Unite for Action: “The Unite for Action team is committed to offering services that make students’ lives easier, and saving money.” Is that supposed to even mean anything, or is it just rhetoric? Who wouldn’t vote for that? I think they mean they’re committed to making their lives easier and saving their money.
What’s more disturbing than how the Elections and Referenda Committee is stacked against any opposition, going as far as disqualifying people and not letting them attend an all-candidates meeting (which would have disqualified them even if they appealled their disqualification). They created a situation where these students would inevitably have been disqualified and the remainder of the team would have to run as independent candidates.
I was the chair of the Elections and Referenda Committee when I was an executive at UTMSU. The chair of the UTSU Elections and Referenda committee, Maria Pilar Galvez, was actually a student, running in the elections for the slate “UTM Movement”; she herself was disqualified for not reaching the correct amount of nominations, but was given an opportunity to attend the all-candidates meeting and campaign for the entire two weeks, and then appealled her disqualification. Unfortunately, the double standard exists and not everyone believes in equal opportunities, or even giving to others the same opportunities that you had.
This is just one of countless examples that I’ve seen of these individuals who run year after year on the same baseless platform points, all to remain in “power” at the student union level—all I have to say is dream bigger, folks.
Will you be voting in election this week? I know I won’t.