WINDSOR, Ont. (CUP) — Outgoing executives for the University of Windsor Student Alliance (UWSA), representing over 10,000 full-time undergraduate students, are scrambling to make decisions that will determine the fate of the union after the 2014 General Elections resulted in a vacancy of all executive, board of directors, board of governors, and senate positions.
Just a week before voting began, a group of students concerned about the lack of involvement in the elections—in addition to concerns about the election process itself—began an online campaign to encourage students to vote “no” or “none of the above.”
By the time the polls opened, the group’s Facebook page had accumulated over 1,000 ‘likes.’
All executive candidates were running unopposed, and were all rejected by voters, raising concerns about what comes next.
UWSA president Rob Crawford said that there is work to do in the next month to ensure students are not dramatically affected in the fall.
“[W]e’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the operations that the UWSA does over the summer can be completed by our full-time staff,” Crawford said.
“It does mean that the work load is going to be a lot higher for them, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be able to put on a Welcome Week and continue to offer our health and dental plan, or the other services we offer,” Crawford said.
Adam Bednarick, the fourth-year student who founded the “None of the Above” campaign, said that he is expecting more work ahead, but he is proud of what has been accomplished.
“We’re going to make sure students’ voices are heard,” he said, adding that elections results were a surprise.
“[W]e just were shocked at the level of impact that we had,” Bednarick said. Bednarick said his group will be digging into the by-laws looking for “weaknesses, irregularities, and any faults that may exist” to recommend changes.
At a UWSA Council meeting on Jan. 30, council approved a number of controversial revisions to election policy, including the recognition of slates.
Fourth-year student Jeff O’Brien had considered running for a position, but dropped out of the race when he realized the implication of running against a slate.
O’Brien said the only slate contesting the executive positions—Windsor United—had a platform that differed dramatically from his own. “I felt that even if I was successful in winning, I would be unable to accomplish what I actually want to do,” he explained.
“I think in the long run it could end up being a good thing for the University of Windsor,” Crawford said, adding that the success of the ‘no’ campaign could present “a chance for rebirth.”