From the Editors: 2016 KSA Election
Opinions / March 1, 2016
Another election, another middling turnout
One more Kwantlen Student Association election has come and gone, and we find ourselves, barring only two people, with a completely refreshed council.
Alex McGowan, currently vice-president external, has returned for his third year as an arts representative, and Tanvir Singh returns as Surrey representative from his previous position as an arts rep. Both have told me that they intend to run for an executive position this time.
I need to admit that I was surprised by a few of the results, one being the loss of Kimberly McMartin, who could have returned for a third year as students with disabilities rep, but lost her race against Landon Charney.
Their race was so tight that a recount was triggered, the final result being 101 to 92. Given the amount of work that McMartin has put into her portfolio, I am surprised to see her without a council seat. In total, 193 people voted to determine who would be representing disabled students over the next year, and that’s a little under half of the total voter turnout.
Tanvir Singh’s result doesn’t surprise me in the least, given his previous high-ranking position at the Kwantlen Gaming Guild, easily the biggest club at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
And when it comes to the Richmond campus rep, I’m not surprised by who won, but by who lost the most. Incumbent Chanel Kwong had the least amount of votes out of all four who ran for the position.
Most importantly, however, is the voter turnout. This year it was even lower than last time, though admittedly not by much. A total of 452 ballots were cast, compared to the 473 which were cast last year.
Not only are several positions unfilled—among them students of colour rep, mature students rep and aboriginal rep—but even fewer people have voted. Again, if you ask me, it demonstrates that people don’t care about what the KSA does.
One of my political science professors, Jay Haaland, told me that perception is more important than reality. I’m under the impression that the vast majority of students at Kwantlen don’t care about anything that happens outside of their classrooms, unless it involves their friends or the Tim Hortons lineup. I happened to fit this exact description until I started writing for this newspaper.
Many of the KSA candidates this year said that they were well-aware of this problem. There’s a chance that a few of them will be able to work towards alleviating it, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m of the opinion that student life at KPU is hindered by geography, multiple campuses, and a lack of student housing. I’m definitely not the only student who needs an hour and a half to get to school. Not only that, but all of my highschool friends who came to Kwantlen transferred out as soon as they could.
Almost every candidate that I called post-election told me that they will listen to students, and the way to test that is to seek them out and tell them what it is you want from the KSA. They also told me that they’re listening to students, but given the dismal turnout numbers, I’m not sure if any students even have anything to say.