For some, it’s easy to tell that it’s election season just by going on Timehop, with retweeted and shared campaign pleas queuing up as a virtual voting history. With the 2016-2017 Undergraduate Student Association Executive Board election cycle beginning, next year’s Timehop will be crowded with this year’s candidates. With four of the six positions running unopposed until Thursday afternoon, Speaker of the Senate Henry Welsby and Vice Speaker Matt Murray extended the deadline for letter of intent until this afternoon at 4pm.
Executive Board elections are exhausting for both the candidates and for the average voter. Constantly barraged by dorm-storming hopeful officials and harassed in the library, students usually are ready for election season to be over as soon as it starts. Likewise, the candidates taking this actions in order to garner votes are similarly run ragged and are likely even more so. However, elections have long been regarded as a popularity contest between candidates, seeing who knows the most undergraduates or who’s able to get their name out into the running without much attention given to substance.
This paper asks that you, the students, keep an eye on substance. Which candidate speaks best to your needs as a student? In the past, presidential candidates have talked about offering more food options, reducing emails, opening a student-run business (an in-progress initiative from Rich Kubiak), among others. Not all of these have been realized, even after the candidate has been elected, but there has been little accountability from the students once these officers take over at the end of the school year.
This year’s election is particularly interesting because of the fact that Dilpreet Kaur, Jeff Spencer, and Robert Lepertine, all former USA. officers (two senators and the Speaker), are each running for Executive Vice President, Vice President for Business and Finance, and Vice President for Student Organizations respectively from abroad. Kaur and Spencer are currently in Glasgow, Scotland, and Lepertine is in Antwerp, Belgium. As of now, the three juniors will compete against students here at Canisius, with at least one other being interested in each position. While no candidates ran from abroad last year, Neil Savoy ‘15 and Kristen Warner ‘15 ran from Madrid, Spain and the Disney College Program two years ago, with the former losing in the presidential race to John Solak ‘15 and the latter overcoming Earius McCloud ‘15 for Vice President for Communications (now VP for Marketing and Public Relations).
To those running, we wish you luck. It’s not an easy competition to enter, but it’s one that has the potential to shape the undergraduate student population’s experience here at the College. Again, we ask that you rely on substance when campaigning, bringing some decency back to elections now that Super Tuesday has passed and we’re beginning to see our candidates taking shape amidst the delegates.
To the voters, remember that these are the students who represent you to the administration. They attend the Strategic Planning and College Budget Committees, Boards of Trustees and Regents, among others. For those who think that being on the USA Executive Board solely involves running the Tuesday night Senate meetings, it’s much more than that, and candidates should have good reason for taking part in the election and good reason for wanting which positions that they do.
This paper will provide thorough election coverage, and so we encourage you to check back next week for a full list of candidates. The presidential debate will take place on 10 March at 7pm in Science Hall Commons.