Presidentials has gone overboard.
This year sees some ambitious and infeasible platforms. The massive plans mislead students because it is impossible for them to find out what the candidates are truly going to work on during their term. There are too many ideas and too little time.
I appreciate the optimism from the candidates and their broad platforms, but let’s be serious. Universities are large institutions that tend to move slowly. The city of Hamilton struggles to even get bike lanes implemented. Anything beyond the control of the MSU requires an incredible amount of work and time.
For proof, we can revisit the accomplishments of recent presidents. The 2014-15 MSU president Teddy Saull made more lighting in student neighbourhoods part of his campaign. This point still appears on platforms in 2017.
The 2015-16 MSU president Ehima Osazuwa wanted to get gender-neutral washrooms. That project remains at a standstill.
Current president Justin Monaco-Barnes campaigned on environmental sustainability. As reported in December, plans to expand the teaching and community gardens had not come to fruition, as well as the installation of solar panels. For Monaco-Barnes, there’s still time, but not much.
So I’m pessimistic when I see candidates naming multiple projects that involve the university or municipality. It takes time to get these groups on board, and time is not something the presidents have with a 12-month term. I am not saying these presidents failed at their jobs; there are just so many hours in a week and some projects have to get left behind.
The “pillars” of their platforms are not framed in terms of priority, and that is by design: as a candidate, you don’t want to alienate the voter who supports your education ideas by ranking that platform point last.
This leaves you, the voter, in a situation where you are guessing what truly matters to the candidate in their dozen or so platform points.
They simply cannot achieve everything, and you have to hope that the reason you are electing them is for the goals they plan to achieve. The candidates will say that they can achieve all the goals, but let history be your educator here.
Be critical of the candidates with broad platforms and talk to them – not the campaign managers or team – about their top priorities and how they plan on achieving them.
You aren’t out of line; you’re holding a political candidate accountable.
The MSU can always use more of that.