We’re now one week into the campaign trail and, to be honest, it’s been more of the same. There has been good and bad in the videos, the platforms and the debates, but none of the candidates have struck me as a game changer. In fact, one of the weirdly pervasive messages so far has been that the University Students’ Council is doing a great job and doesn’t need to change much.
I realize that this is student government, which has very little power to effect change and on its best day is an annoying voice in the ear of administration. However, I find myself somewhat bored by this batch of candidates, all of whom are thinking very alike.
We get it, candidates—you want to make the student experience as awesome as possible and provide as many little benefits to students as possible. You want to increase USC services and make the whole world more accessible. I’m bored.
Here’s what I’m would love to see from a candidate who wants to turn heads.
Somebody who doesn’t care about reaching out to students.
Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not talking about a candidate who doesn’t value student opinion, which is just bad democracy. I’m talking about somebody who is willing to accept that outside of a dedicated few, most students don’t care about their student government, and that’s perfectly fine! Not everybody has to care about Access Copyright or mental health. People are only here for about four years, and between schoolwork and their own personal lives it really doesn’t matter to them what the USC president does. I want a candidate who doesn’t try and pretend they’re just like other students. I want somebody who will say, “I know this stuff, I care about it, and you don’t. Just elect me and I will do a great job.” I think if regular students want to give their input, there are more than enough avenues to do so. But stop trying to bring student issues where they’re not wanted or needed. There’s no need to “bring the USC down from the third floor.” Most people don’t understand what that means and there’s a great reason for that.
A student representative who does just that.
For all the platform points a candidate has, the president is not the one who is responsible for enacting them. That job falls to the vice-presidents during the year. The main thing I think a president has to be able to do is deal with administration. Now this relationship is not usually dramatic. Students and administration don’t clash on too many things, mostly because they either agree or an issue is not something that is dealt with by both sides. However, there are going to be those times where the president needs to go head-to-head with administration on a contentious issue, and in that case they had better know what they’re doing. The administration representatives do their job for years, compared to USC executives who have one-year terms. Any president going in not only has to know what few powers the student side possesses, but they have to be willing to use it. Too much of the time, presidents want to maintain a good relationship and therefore don’t push where they need to. Of course, sometimes you get the type of president I’m looking for. I believed one of last year’s candidates once called that type, “a little bit nuts.”
Somebody who actually understands the USC
This one is vague, but I want to see a candidate who looks at the USC and sees it for what it can be, not what they wish it was. I don’t want a candidate to play it safe and makes their main campaign promise more chairs in the Mustang Lounge, nor do I want a blatant lie about how the candidate will bring about free tuition. I want somebody who is willing to acknowledge that the USC is not a powerful organization, but at the same time somebody is willing to use what power they do have to its fullest extent.
So there you go, candidates. You now know what you have to do to get exactly one vote. Or you can stick with the traditional formula and get a few thousand.