Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Take your nomination form and...

It's the time of year when a young Carleton student's student council ambitions turn to nominations.

All over campus, these fresh faced and nerdy young go getters are pounding the pavement. They have to get a certain number of nominations to get their name on the ballot. I think. I haven't actually researched this, because I don't care about CUSA bureaucracy, not even enough to spend five seconds googling it.

But these kids care enough to want to involve themselves in it. And they either don't have enough friends to get the required number of nominations out of people they know, or the threshold is set pretty high. So they stand in the hallways and cafeteria lines, harassing strangers to sign their nomination form.

I have a great ready made excuse for not signing petitions or political forms of any kind. I'm a journalism student. Sorry, random student. What if I were called to report on some future CUSA scandal and needed to use you as a source? I can't affiliate myself with you, or anyone else, politically.

Usually this throws people off enough to give up. But not these people. "It's not an endorsement!" they persist. "It's just a nomination. All you're doing is giving me a chance to run."

See, here's the thing though. Let's imagine that the KKK decides it's going to run a slate in the CUSA elections. One of their representatives taps you on the shoulder while you're waiting in line for a bagel. He asks you to sign his nomination form - after all, it's not an endorsement, and why would you stand in anyone's way who wants to participate in the democratic process?

For all I know, these people could be members of the KKK. They could be planning to run on a platform of requiring all students to pledge allegiance to Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il every morning. They could be planning to ban student groups whose views and activities they don't like - which actually happened at York, with some pro-life groups.

Do I support these fictional people's right to run in a student election? Of course. Do I want to put my signature down nominating them? Hell no.

You can tell me it's not an endorsement until you're blue in the face. Even if I wasn't on a strict non-political journalist's diet, I still wouldn't help anyone out with my signature who isn't prepared to give me some vague idea of what they're going to use it for.


Teg said...

I have a theory that these are all CFS-exec wannabes and that just makes me sick about the whole thing in the first place. Anyone I've ever known in student government was a complete asshat.

...and I think I have developed the most incredible walking strategy to avoid these guys. Even if there is just the tiniest space between them and the wall, I try to wedge through it, thereby making clear what lengths I will go to to avoid being spoken to about inane student government issues.

Claire Brownell said...

Honestly, it would annoy me way less if they were try to speak to me about inane student government issues. It's the fact they want me to sign something to help them get elected without telling me anything about who they are or what they plan to do that bugs me.

Meg said...

Easiest out ever: "I'm a grad student. I can't vote or nominate CUSA candidates."

You don't even have to say the second sentence... as soon as they hear "grad", they're already harassing the next person walking by.

Exception: when people are giving out free food, acquire said treats before divulging your grad status. Common sense, really, but it's so easy to forget.

Claire Brownell said...

Yes, Sonya pointed this out as well. Oops.

Meg said...

Haha, no worries. Sadly, it doesn't work on those annoying BMO guys on second floor unicentre... I told one off today for harassing the students and he taunted me down the hall to Mike's Place. Taunted by a BMO student salesbitch! Not one of life's proudest moments.