With a week to go before polls close, it has been a pretty uneventful election so far: a total of six demerit points and barely any drama. But there is definitely something interesting happening on the sidelines which can have a powerful effect on the results of this election.
The newly formed Student Organizations Union (SOU), a club advocacy group led by Western Hillel and Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) executives, will be collectively endorsing a presidential slate in this year’s elections. When joined by clubs such as the Black Students Association (BSA), the Chinese Students' Association (CSA) and the Indigenous Student Association (ISA), the SOU is a potential powerhouse.
The collective membership of these clubs numbers in the thousands, enough to swing this USC election which already has a low voter turnout each year.
And the slates know this. From debates to interviews, all three have acknowledged the new “union” and have been much more enthusiastic about clubs than the current USC executives. All slates have made clubs’ reform a major point in their platforms.
It’s difficult to say how well-meaning each of the slates are towards actual clubs' reform and if they’ll actually make any changes once in power. But for now they’re on their toes.
In last year's USC elections, the top two slates were separated by 1,416 votes. The MSA and BSA both endorsed the winning Team Avila. While every election is different, it wouldn't be a surprise if the SOU endorsement pushes one of the teams past the line.
I’ll venture a guess. I think the SOU will endorse Team Tobi.
When Team DiBrina suggested a clubs governance overhaul at the media debate, they were attacked by the other two, who were of the opinion that SOU presented the clubs issues upfront and adding another layer of bureaucracy wouldn’t help.
Team DiBrina’s club strategic plan sounds like a lot of work that may or may not fix issues. Plus the team has been somewhat more hesitant in commenting on the long-term viability of the SOU versus the other two slates who have been much more gung-ho about the “grassroots movement.”
Team Jan/Mohammad has donated a big chunk of their platform towards clubs, and they have showered high praise on the SOU — but the current momentum is with Team Tobi. Their social media presence is seemingly more engaged, they seem to have more people stopping by their booth in the UCC, their campaign team is seemingly more visible and they already have endorsements coming in. The perception doesn't translate into actual votes, but it helps.
The SOU will not only be looking for the slate that best aligns with their goals, but also the slate that has the higher likelihood of winning.
Team Tobi is already doing fairly well considering they were denoted as USC outsiders. If the SOU stands behind the slate, they will definitely be the frontrunners of this election.