Editorial: GSA election needs more candidates

The Carleton Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) will be holding their annual general election at the end of March. For the fourth straight year, the elections are uncontested. The Grads United slate, which includes four of the five current GSA executives, is the only slate in the election.

Grads United is led by Eric Hitsman running for president, the current GSA vice-president (operations). Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, the current president, is running for vice-president (operations). Taylor Howarth, the current vice-president (finance), is running for re-election and previously served as vice-president (external) in the 2015-16 year. Jenna Amirault, current vice-president (external), is also running for re-election. The only new candidate, Jay Ramasubramanyam, is running for vice-president (academic).

The fact that four out of five candidates are running for re-election is not a good thing for the association, or for graduate students at Carleton. One slate of the same people means that new ideas and perspectives are not being introduced to the association, and students only have the chance to vote on one set of ideas. When candidates aren’t running against anyone else, it means zero competition for the position and candidates aren’t forced to come up with the best ideas possible for the students they represent.

As divisive as Carleton University Students’ Association elections can be, students still had a wide variety of candidates and ideas to vote for. The lack of diversity among the candidates for the GSA executive does not show cohesion. Rather, it shows a lack of interest that only five of almost 4,000 grad students at the university wanted to run for the executive.