The announcement of an acclaimed MSU president-elect should raise questions as to why no one is running for MSU positions
Graphic By Nigel Mathias/Contributor
By: Belinda Tam, Contributor
On Jan. 26, 2021, it was announced that Denver Della-Vedova was acclaimed for the position of McMaster Students Union president for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Taking into account both world events and student’s everyday lives, this news may not be on the top of everyone’s mind at the moment. Knowing that this semester is a continuation of a time where the majority of classes are being conducted online — besides a small subset of students being on campus — there’s no doubt that students have been pouring more time into their studies.
Since an acclamation hasn’t occurred within at least 40 years, it’s important to discuss the barriers in running an election. There are multiple rules in place for running candidates, which can pose as a potential financial barrier if you get fined.
Depending on the position the person is running for, guidelines and rules can vary. Violation of election rules may cause you to be fined unless you go through an appeal process. Furthermore, there is the issue of having financial accessibility if a candidate racks up lots of fines, which in turn may stop them from wanting to run.
With that said, there is actually a lot of work to be done when running for one of these positions. In previous presidential elections, candidates often take time off from class, especially for the campaigning period in order to inform the general student population about their mission and what they are hoping to do when elected.
When taking time off from class and possibly even work, not only does the student have to put in extra time and effort to catch up but this time off may also impact evaluations at work as well as testing in courses. Based on the amount of time required to dedicate yourself to running, this may also eliminate more candidates from applying.
In addition, the candidate also often makes a campaign team and has to coordinate the more minor details such as making sure someone was always present at their campaign table.
With that being said, having a team does alleviate the workload but much work is to be done at the beginning of this process when it comes to planning your campaign, as well as managing the team.
This is a lot to handle in conjunction with coursework and personal life. With this level of commitment and time invested, candidates seem to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the position.
Another important note is that you may have a better chance of winning the election if you are more involved and connected with people in the MSU.
Previous presidents such as Ikram Farah, Josh Marando and Giancarlo Da-Ré were all heavily involved in the MSU, which may have had a role in them winning since they had connections to others in the MSU.
As a result, they are more likely to know people who are in positions of power, so it’s easier for them to reach out and build their platform. While opinions may vary, having connections could mean that you have a better chance at winning.
However, we might be missing out on those in the student population who want to run — and might actually be good at the job for that matter — but won’t win because they don’t have those connections.
If this indeed is the case, this means that there is a bias in the system. Those who choose to run by themselves are at a greater disadvantage compared to those who have connections with the predecessors in the role they are campaigning for.
With Della-Vedova’s acclamation of such an important role within the MSU, it is important to reflect on why this issue may have arisen in the first place. If elections aren’t accessible for anyone to run, we may see more acclamations in the future.