What the hell were you people thinking?
That is the prevailing sentiment left by this year's Students' Union general election. Compared to elections past, this year definitely stands out in terms of oddity and general mystery because many different ideas are visible given the referenda results.
Now, we understand that students have spoken with their votes--but what they said doesn't add up. In essence, they said no to more levy payments, but then approved the fattest, most socialist levy of them all: the Universal Transit Pass.
The U-Pass won by a margin of nearly 900 votes--a very clear signal that the students who voted think the U-Pass is a good idea. But the U-Pass approval isn't that surprising until you put it into the context of all the other referenda questions--most of which were voted down.
For example, the Career Services levy was decimated. The increase was proposed so that in future it could be removed. The majority spoke: let's not pay a $12 increase now, we'll just keep paying the $2 forever. Alright, that makes sense.
The Health and Dental plan increases were both disapproved by slimmer margins than the Career Services levy. As a levy with an opt out option, common sense dictates that services offered by the Health and Dental plans benefit only those who need it most. Those who don't need it fill out a simple form and avoid paying $96.50 per semester by doing so. For a measly $14.50 more, the services now offered could continue and perhaps be improved, according to SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Natasha Dhillon. Yet, both failed at the ballot box. Dhillon says services must now be cut in order to maintain the program.
The majority spoke: they don't want to pay more into the program so let those who use it receive less. This doesn't completely add up-especially given the fact those who don't want it can simply opt out.
CJSW and NUTV passed by the slimmest margins of them all, and here is where things get a little confusing. Between the two of them, both groups asked for a measly $1.50 more per semester to continue their invaluable work. Voters seemed to have a harder decision here over what amounts to a single day of coffee money. That makes little to no sense.
And then there's the fattest fucker of them all: the U-Pass. What some have called a clumsy socialist tax was met with a resounding yes from voters. As a result, every full-time undergraduate will pay $50 per semester and nobody--nobody--can opt out. Futhermore, this fee is greater than all the other levies put together. This makes no sense at all.
For the majority of students, the U-Pass apparently isn't about money. It's about all the other issues the U-Pass will affect, including concerns for the environment and ensuring that students, as a body, use public transit to its fullest extent. For the question to have won by that margin, even drivers who don't use transit must have been swayed by the intangibles, such as a hypothesized increase in available parking on campus.
So in the end, it appears the election results do add up if you believe that everything isn't about money, and that's comforting to know.
Rationalization is a wonderful thing--isn't it?