Brandon Clim | Fulcrum Contributor
NOW THAT THE Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s (SFUO) elections are over, I think it’s important to highlight the major flaws in the electoral process and to provide concrete suggestions on how to fix them.
Let me start by congratulating all the individuals who stood as candidates in the recent SFUO elections. It takes courage, commitment, and organization to run in any type of election campaign. Furthermore, a message to those whose bids were successful: Make sure you do what you said you would do in your respective electoral platforms. Too many times have grandiose promises been made by candidates who, once elected, failed to deliver. Believe it or not, having a well-oiled campaign machine and sleek sloganeering is the easy part.
In the near future, when people inevitably begin to criticize you and the work you do, don’t hide away in your offices, ignore phone calls and emails, and refuse to give interviews to those tasked with keeping the student population informed. Face the criticism, accept that you may have made a mistake, and, most importantly, take the necessary steps to fix, improve, or alleviate the issue.
The elections committee
During one of their first meetings, members of the SFUO board of administration (BOA) elect three of their peers to sit on the elections committee. This committee is tasked with, among other things, the nomination of the SFUO chief electoral officer (CEO). In November 2012, the SFUO held by-elections to fill vacant seats on the BOA. However, the elections committee had already failed to meet its constitutional obligation to nominate a CEO by no later than August. Therefore, with no CEO in place, current SFUO vp university affairs Elizabeth Kessler and Faculty of Social Sciences board representative Mark Donoghue were entrusted with the administration of the by-elections.
First of all, the elections committee should never be allowed to be the sole administrator of elections. As we now know, Brad Lafortune, the SFUO Pride Centre coordinator (an employee of the SFUO) ran and was elected to one of the vacant faculty director seats. How on earth Kessler (as an SFUO executive, the employer of Lafortune) was allowed to administer that by-election is beyond me. Talk about the appearance of a conflict of interest.
This leads me to my second point: the elections committee should not be filled by members of the BOA or by members of the SFUO executive. The administration of any election should be entrusted to arms-length, independent, and impartial indi