Next week, you, members of the Senate Executive Committee will make a decision on whether to ratify the results of the recent University Planning and Budget Committee election. With under four per cent of eligible voters casting their ballot, you have to make a choice between ratifying the results and welcoming a warm body for quorum, or choosing to run another election in which a democratically significant percentage of students clearly select a representative.
This decision will be very revealing as to how the Senate views student representation. To accept a result of four per cent turnout indicates that the Senate believes it takes no special skill to be an effective representative for the over 20,000 undergraduate students.
I argue that this belief is incorrect. This position requires the candidate to integrate the diverse interests of undergraduates and apply them when considering major decisions that affect all university stakeholders, including deliberating on a nearly one billion dollar budget. Does that sound like a job that just anyone can do effectively? As previously stated, this decision will be very revealing.
As for possible solutions, I believe that running the university-wide elections concurrently with the MSU presidential election in February will increase undergraduate participation to a similar level of approximately 20-25 per cent of eligible voters. In a two-pronged attack on voter apathy, McMaster University should share in the responsibility, along with student organizations, student leaders, and students themselves (the electorate) of raising awareness of the positions to which student leaders are elected and the decisions made by those in said positions.
If university-wide decision-making bodies want true representation and not just a warm body, we must reject minimum participation in elections and actively foster an environment cheap viagra for sale online where an informed electorate makes democratically significant choices for their representatives.