At this point, those who have been following the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) election know that there are a reduced number of candidates as compared to year’s.
This hasn’t escaped executive members on this year’s Board of Directors, either.
“Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed,” said Enoch Weng, current president of the SFSS. “There’s a lot less turnout in terms of both candidates running as well as people attending the [debates].
“People can blame dates, people can blame the general apathy of students, there’s so many factors involved that I really wouldn’t know where to start.”
He isn’t the only one who feels this way.
“It was a little bit disappointing to see the low number of candidates putting their names forth for this year’s election,” agreed VP University Relations Brady Yano.
“It’s disappointing that they will not have to necessarily work as hard for the position as many of us did on this current board.
“I think the campaigning process is a good way to see how individuals perform under pressure, and unfortunately many of the candidates will not be put into those pressured situations.”
VP Student Services Darwin Binesh believes the main reason is because of the lack of interest in multiple slates.
“Typically you see multiple slates in an election which are full, so what ends up happening by virtue of two slates with 16 seats to fill each is if they fill those seats, they automatically have 32 seats,” he said.
“In this case, you only have one slate that really tried to fill all the seats.
“There was no division on the board this year that led to multiple people running for seats against each other. Current board members are actually all on the same slate. Slates are definitely a big part of it.”
Regardless of the reason, the low amount of candidates has perpetuated the notion that students won’t come out to vote. It’s just another example of students not participating in SFU whether they want to or not, which VP External Relations Kathleen Yang believes is already a recurring issue.
“It’s a huge issue. Let’s just say that — there’s no need to make that politically correct,” said Yang. “It’s a huge systemic issue with the lack of students that come out to vote in the SFSS election.
“Really, that’s what it is,” she continued. “Transportation, food security, housing security, and income security. Those are the four major things that are ultimately preventing students from participating on campus.”
The reduced number of candidates means that many only have to convince students to say ‘yes’ to them.
Almost all positions have two or fewer candidates running, with the at-large representative race being the sole exception.
With that, the campaign process has felt underwhelming to Yano, who wonders if this election season has really given us a good sense of what these candidates will do if elected.
“In the debates, I did not get a sense from any individual candidate of the tangible steps they will take in order to get anything done. Instead, we heard very high-level talk, saying things like ‘We will engage students’ and ‘We will communicate,’” he said.
“I’m hoping that this next board, despite the ease of potentially getting elected, do take their role seriously and do build upon the existing work we’ve done this year and don’t take this opportunity for granted, ’cause they are essentially walking into the position.”
Whoever ends up filling the seats on the Board of Directors, Weng has a parting message for them.
“Be accountable. That can mean a lot of things to other people, but to me, it really just means do your best for students. Don’t screw up or don’t screw things up for them. Do things honestly, and don’t waste money.”