Despite our best intentions and careful planning, the Students' Union candidate review process always involves late nights, too much caffeine and days of neglected schoolwork. But these are small sacrifices, sacrifices that are well worth it to provide students with an informed overview of just who is vying to represent their concerns and spend their SU fees for an entire year.
The Gauntlet panel urges students to remember that the opinions contained within are just that, opinions. Our panel consisted of a group of six undergraduate students, including a first year, and students who have been here long enough to stop counting years. Where we differ from the average student is we had the opportunity to sit down and personally speak with each candidate who is running for an executive position. We had a chance to grill them on the important issues affecting students, like tuition increases and quality money. We also talked about not so important, but equally valued topics like the fate of That Empty Space and how to make the Den a better bar.
Each year, in addition to a serious neglect of sleep and school work, the Gauntlet is criticized for using the election supplement to decide the fate of the SU election. This is not our intention. While we come from a well-informed position, we are by no means the final authority on SU politics. We encourage students to take this into account and to make up their own minds when it comes to voting.
Go to the forums, which run in MacEwan Student Centre at lunchtime from now until Monday. Read the candidates platform pull-out published in this paper. Check out posters. Visit the SU website. Then, when you are informed, vote for the candidate who best represents your concerns.
On a final note, the Gauntlet panel agreed that this year was disappointing as far as SU elections go. Not the candidates themselves so much, but the lack of choice among them. Three years ago, the SU saw a slate of 22 candidates running for executive positions. There was also an election bus, free hot chocolate and plenty of debate among students about who to vote for. That election also resulted in threatened lawsuits against the Gauntlet, which was a small price to pay for the highest student voter turn out in U of C history.
This year we interviewed only nine candidates, two of whom were acclaimed. While it made our job a whole lot easier and greatly lessens the chance of a lawsuit, it means students may not have their needs represented.
So, for those budding young politicians out there, or just concerned students who want to see a change, it's time to quit complaining and take action. Vote by logging into the Infonet any time between February 14-16, and consider getting involved in your SU the next time around. It just might make U of C a better place to spend your time and money.