University of Manitoba Students’ Union elections are once again upon us, and once again I find myself saying, “It’s election week?” Like a lot of students, I am not involved in our student government in the slightest. Let me say, however, that I do vote in all municipal, provincial and federal elections, and I encourage all of my friends to do the same.
I only mention this so that after you read this next sentence you have due cause to label me a hypocrite. I have never once voted in an UMSU election. What is the reason for this inactivity in UMSU elections, you ask? It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of my apathy, but I will give it a shot. Oh wait, it’s actually super easy to pinpoint: I don’t care about UMSU.
That may sound harsh, or even mean, but it is true. And, I know for a fact that I am not the only U of M student that feels this way — not by a long shot. Now, I’m not saying I don’t like UMSU, as I’m sure it is comprised of many lovely individuals, but I could take it or leave it as a political presence on campus.
I don’t care enough about UMSU to spend precious paper writing/exam studying time researching candidates and platforms. I don’t care about UMSU elections for precisely that reason. I don’t take the time to learn about the candidates for the numerous positions up for grabs. Half of the time I don’t know what each position even means and what their duties would be if they won. This is not the fault of UMSU by any means, I just don’t care enough to take the time to look things up, and a few posters in the tunnels are not enough to induce me to research further.
I don’t care about UMSU elections because UMSU does not have a direct presence in my life, both on campus and off. In my four years at U of M, I have not once entered the UMSU office, heard anything about what they do outside of election period, or felt that anything that has been provided to me by UMSU has had an impact on my time at university.
But, as I mentioned earlier, I do not take time to inform myself about UMSU, so maybe they are doing wonderful things for me and I just don’t know it. Either way, I don’t find it necessary during my time at U of M to participate in an election that has little to no effect on the university or me; if I haven’t noticed an impact by now, I’m pretty sure I’m not missing out.
Because I remain uninformed and blissfully ignorant, I make the choice not to vote. I am of the mind that if you don’t know what you are talking about, then stop talking; by me not voting, I am openly admitting to being uninformed and thus do not expect anyone to take my opinion seriously. On the other end, I am also of the mind that if one chooses not to vote, then that person has no right to complain about the new elected members. This is why you will never hear a cross word about UMSU from me.
My not caring about them works in their favour in that way; I don’t care about the good stuff they are doing, but I care equally as little about the not so good stuff they may be doing. So, there is a little light at the end of this tunnel for UMSU. Low voter turn out, yes, but you can potentially get away with murder in student politics.
I don’t care about UMSU elections because I consciously make the choice not to. With so many other things going on that directly affect my life and my happiness, it is hard to make room for something I don’t really care about anyway. So, will this year be different? Will I find myself at the polls during the last UMSU election before I graduate?
Um, no, I will not. But please, do not let me deter you from fulfilling your student duty. All the more power to you for being informed, involved students. I wish all the candidates the best of luck and success in their time with UMSU, regardless of whether I know a thing about them or not.