What have the elections ever done for us?

questions whether the YUSU democratic process is worth all the fuss, let alone the egomania

Image: Dan Powell

Love it or hate it (and you would be forgiven for being of the latter stance, given the current political climate), from our education system to our healthcare, the political spectre looms large as an omnipresent force in society.

It should stand to sense, then, that student politics should play an equally pivotal role in our student lives; this, glaringly, is not always the case. But if you’re reading this, the chances are you’re a student with at least a passing interest in the marquee events of the York University political bubble that are the upcoming YUSU elections. And you may well be thinking “why should I care about them?” The answer? You really shouldn’t.

Never has there been a more futile exercise in such narcissistic egomania than in student elections. Second and third years, postgrads, consider for a second what you have actually seen change around the University from one administration of sabbatical officers to another. Struggling? Yeah, me too. These elections are little more than vehicles for our more careering fellow students to acquire some substantial CV-fodder to wow any potential future employers, demonstrating their ability to appeal to their peers by gaining a popular mandate.

At this juncture, given my thus far overwhelmingly acerbic tone, it is probable that you believe I think that the whole notion of YUSU is pointless. In their defence, there are some important roles filled within the Union. Officers representing minorities play an integral part in aiming to ensure that the overall university experience can be the same for everyone without worries of discrimination; part-time officers in other areas, such as the Environment and Ethics team, help to make the University more conscientious of sustainability issues; and of course a President is needed to oversee everything.

My qualm is not with the Union itself, but the elections process that comes around once a year, and even more so the hype and artificial fervour that surrounds it. Candidate manifestos will be released amidst a fanfare of sensational, idealist promises that will, ultimately, never be implemented save for the odd token gesture. Obviously, we need people to run the Union, but the splurging ejaculation of campaign materials designed to pique your interest is purposeless, the whole process seemingly devised as a means to actually create some kind of concern within students for the affairs of YUSU for a couple of weeks before they return to their glaring indifference for the rest of the year.

Why are we even remotely arsed about student politics? Things around campus will remain largely in stasis no matter who has mustered the most support for their pipe-dream policies by the time voting closes on the 24th of February. The small things that do change will no doubt be similar to the previous introduction of the bollock-achingly inconvenient Yoyo Wallet, stopping us from using our debit cards in YUSU bars and thereby forcing us all to download the app. This is coming from a senior editor of a student newspaper funded by YUSU, charged with part of the responsibility to put together this irrelevant shitrag about the elections. Seriously, why are you reading this? You could be doing something so much better with your time than immersing yourself in the synthetic world of student politics. Stop, you mug!

Regardless of my rant, the elections will bumble on. Campus will be plastered with pizza boxes adorned with corny slogans, there’ll be all sorts of attention-grabbing techniques employed: speeches, posters, leaflets, sycophantic freebies and even the odd bit of edgy graffiti here and there promoting various candidates. It’ll be easy to get caught up in the brief frenzy, especially if you’re a first year living on campus. But through all the hyperbole, just remember the most important thing: it’s one gigantic, aimless, unavailing, mind-bogglingly futile ego parade.

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