It is easy to forget how emotionally charged election night is. The culmination of campaigning approaches fast and hard, without much warning. Nothing truer could be said about Saturday’s results. Amongst the flurry of campus media, nervous candidates, and generally inebriated supporters, Lewis Bretts announced each result punctually. Before we knew it, tensions had evolved into tears.
With so many commiserations and congratulations banded around L/N/028, it seems that not much thought went into an actual assessment of exactly how far this year’s team would work effectively together.
One of the main issues that can occur in any institution with no explicit hierarchical structure and a superfluity of bureaucracy is miscommunication. It seems that for YUSU – no matter what year, no matter which Sabbs – there is no escaping this.
But what will be particularly interesting to see this year is how well such a diverse mix of Officers-elect will work well together: the Union is nothing if not a team. With two incumbents successfully achieving re-election, a JCRC-centric Democracy and Services Officer, a Student Activities Officer displaying a definite aptitude for student development, an avuncular York Sport President with experience in both sport and politics, and an international female Welfare Officer, it is impossible to evaluate just how the combination will fuse in the next year.
With three Sabbs having ridden on the same campaign management team, it seems that the foundations are already well established. Whether this will produce a
homogenous Union remains to be seen, as does Laura Bo’s position as the sole female in the Office.
Bo’s victory was perhaps the most emotional of the night: it is inevitable in an election where only two strong and equally viable candidates contest for a position that requires an unwavering degree of passion and enthusiasm.
Andrew McIlwraith’s attitude towards the election exemplified exactly why welfare is an imperative and autonomous role, and limply failed to stimulate the same amount of debate Mark Pickard and Peter Saul aroused with their shameful campaign. What Bo’s triumph has pointed to instead is a question of conscience. The types of comments we received on our blog on Saturday unveiled the misogyny embedded in the fringes of campus society. Whilst Bo’s campaign may not have roused a particular debate regarding the potential surplus of having a separate welfare officer, it at least raises questions about exactly why female students seemingly feel alienated from the remit of high-end campus politics. And why they don’t get elected.
It is often unclear how far how an election result is really representative of the people it is meant to be stand for, but this year’s diverse mix of Officers may just do exactly that. We’ll see.