There have been a lot of concerns the last few days about the SU’s recent executive election, specifically about a ruling by the CRO that led to an appeal to the SU’s Discipline, Enforcement and Interpretation Board that was held on Wednesday. Besides comments flying around Facebook, lots of Edmonton media has shown a rare interest in what exactly is going on in the SU’s electoral process.
I want to take a moment to reflect on the amazing work that this year's candidates and their volunteers have already put in, because elections are one of the most stressful things to endure as a student. I can speak from having 6 years of experience running in them, and I know that the last few days have not been made easier on any of the candidates with allegations flying back and forth.
Elections are central to the Students’ Union’s continued success. This year we saw a record amount of candidates run in both the executive and councillor elections from a diversity of backgrounds. If anything, The Gateway made the case that there were too many candidates running this year! We saw such an incredibly diverse array of candidates step forward, including students from different U of A campuses, different faculties, international students, and female students — a trademark of the success of this year's executive’s goal to make the SU a more inclusive organization. In my 6 years of student government, the large turnout of candidates for this year’s contested executive and councillor elections was impressive and showed me how much passion people have for the organization.
That said I think the outpouring of student concerns the last few days makes it clear that we still have a lot of work to do. I think it is important to emphasize that by the SU’s own rules election results are not official until council approves them, meaning that there is time for any election decision to be contested before results are official — of course, it is important to note that the complaint to the CRO regarding this manner came in right before the unofficial results were announced. I would also like to add, for those less familiar with SU elections, that it is normal for candidates to both receive and appeal fines in any election. It is part of what keeps the process fair.
Since we want to encourage a diverse array of university students to run for SU positions, we clearly need to ensure that election rules and decisions are clear, transparent and easily grasped by the average student. I want to make it a personal priority during the last few weeks of my term to ensure that this issue is discussed at Students’ Council. If building on this year’s successes means that we need to review our rules, I hope the newly elected executive team and Students’ Council do so.
Students’ Union President 2013-2014