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Editorial: Controversy = Participation

The TCSA has certainly been the centre of a lot of controversy lately.

I don’t think I need to get into specifics here. There’s probably something that comes to the front of your mind when you read that. What matters is that you’re thinking of the TCSA at all.

When it comes to fielding candidates for the board, increasing voter turnout, or just getting students to pay attention, nothing does the job like a little controversy.

This is the case for any election. The recent provincial one saw the trend of falling voter turnouts curbed after an election marred with controversy, be it the gas plant scandal or the Million Jobs Plan.

But if there’s one electorate that could use a boost in participation it’s ours.

The TCSA presidency has gone uncontested for the past two years. Last year, only three positions were contested at all. Many didn’t see a single candidate.

Frankly, if any of that happens again this time around I would be shocked.

The 2014 election came at a time of relative ease for the TCSA. The student centre project was chugging along largely behind the scenes, no one had any public gaffes, and no one was at anyone else’s throat.

This year, the opposite is true.

The student centre has been going full speed ahead, and students are excited to be a part of the process.

The president of the TCSA stepped down with only two months to go in his term. When news of a document leak scandal broke in Arthur, he was already up for impeachment for breaking by-laws.

Speaking of impeachment, VP Campaigns and Equity Boykin Smith was up for it as well. The controversy surrounding that motion inspired some 20 people to come out in his defence—no doubt this display of confidence from the student body played a part in the motion’s failure.

We have a difficult enough time trying to inspire a reporter to attend TCSA board meetings, let alone 20 of them. No doubt this is telling that more students are engaged this year than in the recent past.

This was more or less confirmed by Acting President Mayra Asmar in an interview we conducted with her for our Arthur Hour radio show, which aired Saturday.

Obviously she couldn’t provide numbers or names, but she said she’s been impressed by the interest she’s seen already.

I’m writing this just two days before the nomination deadline, so it won’t be speculation for long, perhaps not even now as you read this.

I think this will be an exciting election period. It’s not the nicest way to engage students, but at least they’re engaged.

Voting takes place online from March 16-19. Election speeches are Tuesday March 10 from 6-9pm in the Bata Library Theatre (Room 103). Debates are in the Sadleir House Lecture Hall on Thursday March 12, from 6-9pm.

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