Condense the campaigns
By the time you’re probably reading this, the McMaster student body has elected its newest (male) president. If you weren’t particularly involved in the election, the ten-day campaign period was probably a rather insignificant portion of your semester, and soon after the posters come down and the tables get packed away, it’ll be like it never happened.
But the thing is, it is a far more significant undertaking than it may seem to run for MSU President.
Over the course of the past couple weeks, candidates live and breathe their campaigns. They’re set up in MUSC from the early hours of the day, right until it empties out again in the evening. Even when they’re not around in person, their schedules are packed; they’re on social media, talking to classes, or attending various debates and events.
And their omnipresence comes at a cost. These students generally don’t go to class, and they are effectively prevented from doing schoolwork of any kind. Sometimes profs are receptive to the candidates’ absences and missed work, and accommodate them—other times, not so much. They have to deal with it either way.
Personally, I think this whole political to-do takes things a little too far.
In working on The Sil’s presidential coverage, I spoke to the candidates and team members on multiple different days of the campaign. In pretty much all cases, they were exhausted.
I realize the argument can be made that this is just the price you have to pay in order to earn such a prestigious campus job—that it’s not meant to be easy. Sure, it’s good to know that the CEO of the Union can handle a little stress. Maybe it even inspires confidence in their future job performance.
And of course, it benefits us, as voters, to have a campaign of this extent so we can have to put our potential presidents under the microscope before we make up our minds.
But while we’ve spent so much time worrying why women in particular aren’t putting their names on the ballot, we have somehow neglected to really look at the structure of the campaign period itself. It’s ten whole days. And it’s not right at the start of the semester, either. It’s a couple weeks in, when courses have already picked up. When you consider that the majority of candidates every year are in their final semester of their undergrad, with a schedule likely full of theses and seminars, the significance of this time in school becomes even greater. Are the ten academia-free days really worth it?
I’m not saying that shortening the campaign period would completely solve the issues facing the presidential elections. But it’s time to reevaluate whether or not this is completely necessary.
And to the five gentlemen and their teams who made it through these past couple weeks—I hope you enjoy a well-earned sleep.