Windsor students vote down uncontested candidates

All uncontested candidates running in the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance’s (UWSA) general election were voted down March 13-14.

The results came after a group of  students concerned with the “state of democracy on campus” started a campaign called “Vote None of the Above.”

Mike Maher, a spokesperson for the campaign, said the group was concerned with the number of uncontested positions.

“For the six UWSA executive positions, all candidates were uncontested. They each make $20,000 a year from the student union,” Maher said. “Also, their website was broken, their platform was a series of bullet points—it was all just extremely unimpressive and you could tell that they just didn’t care.”

Maher said there were 51 student alliance positions to fill, 23 of which were uncontested and 10 vacant.

The group was also upset by the recent elections policy that passed on Jan. 30 by several members who were running and are currently on the UWSA executive team.

Maher said the policy “allows individuals to run in slates and be funded in slates.”

He said the group hopes the student alliance reforms its policies and adheres to the bylaws that they set out for themselves.

“They’re running a multi-million dollar corporation and they’re treating it like it’s a bridge club,” Maher said.

Robert Crawford, current UWSA president, said he was surprised by the success of the campaign.

“I didn’t expect it to win,” Crawford said. “I didn’t think they would be able to get enough students out to vote ‘None of the Above,’ but in hindsight, looking at their campaign, it was a perfect way to capture that apathy and actually express it.”

Crawford said the bylaws of the student alliance state that if there are any positions remaining vacant, another election will be held in the following fall semester.

“Discussions still need to be had, so right now we’re just kind of figuring out what our next step is,” Crawford said. “A fall election seems to be the most likely situation.”

However, Crawford said the university is also conducting its own investigation into the student alliance.

“They’re investigating everything the UWSA has been doing for the last two years—whether we’ve even been following our own governance,” Crawford said. “So, a lot of this also depends on what comes out of that investigation and what the university decides to do.”

Crawford said these election results have made him wonder if student governments truly represent the students that elect them.

“I think that it is not an issue of the individuals that are elected and their ability to represent students,” Crawford said. “I think it speaks more to the systemic issues of the organization. Especially for the UWSA, things are very bureaucratic, it takes time to put the wheels in motion to accomplish anything. When you have a new executive from year to year . . .  a lot of goals fall to the wayside.”

Mackenzie Chauvin, a third-year nursing student at Windsor, said he is concerned about having another election.

“I hope that if new elections are held, more candidates will run for positions,” Chauvin said. “My only concern would be encouraging students to vote in another potential election because of the low voter turnout we usually get.”

Chauvin said he was happy with the success of the “None of the Above” campaign.

“I was satisfied to see that students didn’t just vote in candidates because they were running unopposed,” Chauvin said. “I certainly don’t want the student association of my school being voted in unopposed as one group.”