Have you seen the elections posters in the Meeting Place?
Yes, you know, the ones all over the stone pillars while you drink your coffee. The colourful long sheets of paper with the smiling faces and the “Vote for me for this position!” signs.
Have you ever stopped and read one of the posters?
They are all the same—someone is marketing themselves for some position that the majority of the student body doesn’t know exists.
Components of a candidate’s poster? You’ll find a picture of the candidate with their arms crossed, or awkwardly dangling at their sides, smiling at you. There’ll be two headings that stick out: their name near their face and the name of their sought position at the top or bottom of the page. And let’s not forget about the bubble containing what that candidate will “lobby for” or “fight for” or “advocate” in their given position.
I think that it’s more important to know what these people are running for than who is running.
Let’s walk through what kinds of elections happen at UTM, wherein students sit on councils and “lobby for” things. We all go to UTM; we might as well know and participate in running our campus.
From what I gathered from their meeting agendas obtained through a quick Google search, the following councils and committees have meetings to decide if some change or other should happen on our campus. There seems to be presentations, some discussion, and voting.
Elections you’ll be asked to vote for:
Councils and Committees
Governing Council: elections are now over, I think. The highest decision-makers at UTM/U of T. Oversees all of the other councils.
Campus Council: elections are happening, I think. Council overseeing UTM’s affairs on behalf of the Governing Council.
Academic Affairs Committee: elections are happening, I think. Makes decisions on anything concerning academic policies and teaching and research at the university, like how programs are run and what programs are offered.
Campus Affairs Committee: elections are happening, I think. Deals with campus life and campus resources.
So basically, the students running for these groups follow the given agenda and represent our voice in major campus decisions through formal discussion and voting.
And let’s not forget about the big union voting you’ll be bombarded with in the next month:
Students’ Union (UTMSU): elections are coming—check your email for updates because UTMSU always opts for email communication. The students’ union represents us—where our money goes, what services we get, and hosting or organizing a lot of campus events. From what I’ve gathered, there is the position of the president and then a bunch of VPs—external, internal, part-time, campus life, academics, and equity.
As for when you vote for UTMSU, don’t be discouraged by the pressure the candidates put on you in the hallways. Just keep in mind that these people represent you somehow, and choose accordingly. And don’t be afraid to ask why they are running or what they plan to implement, or what happens at their meetings, or even what any of it has to do with you.
As a side note, clubs also have executive teams where you can vote for who will run a specific club. Most of these clubs are structured in the same president plus VPs format.
There are also board of directors elections for larger clubs, including the UTMSU. The board of directors is the group above any given club and makes decisions about the club’s funding and format.
So this coming elections season, do your research and ask candidates what they are running for. I hope that some of my observations will help you in your votes.
Do not be a passive student on our campus! ☺