This is the first time since 2013 that less than 40 per cent of students voted in the McMaster Students Union presidential election. The number dropped almost 12 per cent from last year, and represents almost 3,000 students.
There are about nine months until the Hamilton municipal election. If you cannot get students to vote for their own union’s president, how do you ever expect to will them into voting in a municipal election that has less direct influence on them?
Time and time again, student needs are passed over by the city and the complaints pile up. The addition of bylaw officers as a knee-jerk response to Homecoming, the fines students have paid because of these officers, the lack of consultation with students on issues affecting them, the continued struggles with the HSR or the attempted shift in ward boundaries that would have split the student vote and diminished the effect of the $1.5 million Area Rating Reserve Fund for students all add up.
Most of these have been within the last few months. Ask yourself what you really expect to find if you look back at the city’s decisions since 2014. Why would the city cater to a population that does not vote for them?
Efforts after this immense drop in voter turnout need to start immediately. Communication has been a constant problem for the entire year as little improvement has been made since the Sept. 28, 2017 editorial, which stated as the kicker, “While the focus is on big projects, students need more updates on more things”. These results prove it.
All of the debates, the campaigning and the promises of each candidate were meaningless to a population that is apathetic or unaware of what the union does. It is a lot to ask a student who believes that barely anything has improved to listen to promises for the future.
That editorial also mentions, “The fortunate part for this paper is that many of our news articles, no matter how big or small, are breaking stories,” which still remains completely absurd. Despite the constant criticism in nearly every single issue against them or against issues on campus that still have yet to be fixed, the Silhouette has likely printed more positive news about the union than they have provided themselves. It is ridiculous.
The union needs to act immediately and not wait for Ikram Farah, the president-elect, to step in and save everything. Any union that fails to engage the people who pay for it is a failure, and losing the dedication of about 3,000 of them to apathy in a single year is a crisis.