Just don’t fuck up
As the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU) campaigning kicks off, the main focal point is the Presidential race. This year, the candidates are incumbent President Nathan Sgrazzutti and Ph.D student Kazi Mamum. It should be stressed that all the electoral positions are important, and that students should do their best to keep up with all the different races. It should also be stressed that student participation in URSU is imperative, because the people we elect to these positions should be qualified. This has not always been the case in the past, with embezzlement scandals here and financial mismanagement involving a certain bar there.
Therefore, during the campaigning period, students need to show up to the events as best they can to learn about the candidates. They need to stop by the tables in the Riddell to talk with the campaigners, and lastly, ask questions when they come to students’ classes. In this way, if students put the hopefuls through a figurative gauntlet, it will help root out those whose aim it is to take advantage of our tuition fees or to simply pad their resumes, instead of actually serving students.
This should be common sense, and these general guidelines should be exercised at the URSU elections, and in relation to democracy abroad. Pressure and the stress of campaigning will hopefully reveal the true character of those seeking office.
Yet, it seems URSU, and the students who run it, only make the news when they screw something up. Perhaps that is the key to success in URSU, not screwing up, yet in my time here at this institution, I’ve talked to many fellow students about what they think of URSU, and most the time, they don’t even know what our union does for us! When prompted, they may say “Welcome Week?”
This is not to discredit our president, nor anyone else currently involved with URSU, and this is neither an argument for or against anyone in the current campaign. This is simply an observation I have heard from many students.
This was the sticking point of current President Nathan Sgrazzutti’s campaign exactly one year ago. He came to my class while campaigning to give a talk and try to gain votes. He asked Political Science 210 a simple question, “what has URSU done for you in the last year?” If I had not spoke up, no one would have said anything, not out of apathy, but rather because they legitimately could not think of one thing URSU had done for them.
The thing I pointed out was something mundane, just to see where Sgrazzutti was going with this question. Indeed I see now what he meant, because if Sgrazzutti was to go around to classes today, I doubt he will ask that same question, but if he did, then he would receive the same blank stares. This is not his fault, it is seemingly the nature of the office, because all hitherto presidents would have seemingly received the same glare from the students.
This brings us to our golden rule of URSU politics: just don’t fuck up.
Photo courtesy of Dan Shier/URSU