KSA needs an election process revamp

Mass disqualifications and voting harassment poses challenges for the student body

Candidates running in KSA elections need to communicate their campaign in a professional and concise manner. (File photo)

Candidates running in KSA elections need to communicate their campaign in a professional and concise manner. (File photo)

While another general election for the Kwantlen Student Association has passed, the attention on the recent group of candidate disqualifications remains. 

If there’s one thing different about each election, it’s that candidates find more ways to get disqualified, and someone was even removed before the ballots were up. 

What’s concerning is that it’s the third consecutive year of mass disqualifications of candidates for the KSA. Many of those disqualified are also international students. 

While including voices from different backgrounds is always a best practice in decision making, it feels such voices aren’t always carrying the passion they should. 

Whenever I see candidates’ posters during election periods, they are nothing more than just names and faces. The only time I see actual indication of what candidates plan to do if elected is on the online ballots where students vote. 

Even then, it seems some candidates aren’t aware of the 100-word limit for these statements, considering many are cut off midway. When these statements are cut off, it makes it difficult to vote for a candidate as their message isn’t clear. This leaves me, and likely others, uninformed on what they’ll do if elected to the student council. 

When I check election results and those same people are voted in, I’m left surprised. Anyone who provides little to no details in their candidacy statement on what they intend to do at the KSA shouldn’t be allowed to run. 

In the general election last month, I experienced plenty of candidates coming up to me asking for my number and email. I would tell them I wasn’t interested, but they kept insisting to the point I felt harassed. 

Even when I didn’t give any of my contact information, I would somehow get messages on Moodle from candidates, leaving me confused on how they were able to find me when we don’t have any classes together. Coming up to students on campus and forcing them to vote shouldn’t be tolerated and, unfortunately, I believe I’m not the only one. 

Communicating candidates’ messages to the student body through a more conventional and concise manner would not only be more professional, but help students feel more informed when voting. 

The student body has witnessed the KSA council embezzle funds, not show up to meetings, and, most recently, the executives give themselves and future exec members each a hefty $10,000 tuition benefit. If voting students were more informed, the KSA was more transparent, and made meetings available, maybe these issues could be avoided. 

This way, students actually get a say in how the council should operate to serve them — because that’s what it’s supposed to do. I don’t think anyone who treats the election or council positions as a fun activity or ego boost should be anywhere near having power. 

Participation and engagement with the KSA, such as running as a candidate or voting in the election, with domestic students continues to be low. 

To help fix this issue, reminding domestic students how they can benefit from the decision making process when voted into the KSA is a start. But there should also be a domestic student representative constituency position on council so that domestic students can have their voices heard in the KSA. 

I hope candidates are more considerate of personal boundaries during the next election season and when campaigning in the future. 

Looking forward, I hope to see improvements from the newly elected council over the next year and more voices from domestic students in the KSA.