EDITORIAL: Election season: poster pollution and voter apathy

Photo by Chelsea Lecce.

By Chelsea Lecce

It’s that time of year again, when the hallways of our campus are victim to poster pollution, and student drama breezes through.

The Ryerson Students’ Union elections are here, and whether you’re a freshman or a senior, we predict that most of you couldn’t care less.  

Student politics are like family relatives that pop up only for the winter holidays. They come around once a year, tell you all the things you want to hear, promise to make an effort to stay in contact and be there for you, give you a spark of hope, and then disappear after opening the gift you got them.

Our presidential candidates continue to make open-ended promises to us each year. Their slates pledge to help with campus costs, bring forth more budgeting and fundraising, plan awesome community events, and ultimately use their voice to make change.

However, we have seen student unions plan a concert, change the dates, and then fail to refund customers in a timely matter. We have seen them use their budgets to fund environmental destruction through printing a nuisance amount of posters. And most notably, we have witnessed the slate members who we voted for to work collectively as a team and help boost our university experience, resign because they themselves were unable to make it through the chaos.

The election polls have been open since yesterday and will be until tomorrow, but how many students know this?

If you are an active Facebook user, then most likely throughout your years here at Ryerson, you have joined one of the graduating class group pages. On these pages, students from specific graduating years or programs have access to posting questions and information. Some of these pages have up to 13,000 members.

In the past, all of these individual group pages were monitored by students of that graduating year. Now, the newest group, Accepted – Ryerson University Class of 2021, is administered by a social media specialist in the admissions and recruitment department.

The administrator of the group has posted a reminder that no students or members of the group can openly discuss anything relating to the Ryerson Students’ Union elections. How are any of the first-year students going to get any sense of the slates, problems from the past, or any voting information if they are not able to discuss it with their new peers?

Whether it be school, municipal, or any other level of government, politics will always be one of those topics that boosts voices and opinions. Students should not be discouraged from voicing their concerns about our university’s political system, or restricted from informative resources.

The 2016-17 school year elections saw only 20 per cent of our total student body come out to vote. With numbers that low, campaigns are winning with no real indication that our school fully supports them. Do students know enough to be able to take a stance and vote?

Ryerson University is an institution that should be fostering students from all programs to build a unified community that is aware of all that is happening, and able to contribute or speak up. If we have the right to vote, we should have the right to all the resources to help us vote.

 

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