Sunday, February 01, 2004

Roll that log

A passing reference about the University of British Columbia student council elections in my old paper here would reveal to a wise student journalist that UBC is profoundly changing.

Buried in the article is this:

Another recommendation was to end the practice of candidates promising salary donations to various groups as part of their campaigns—something he [the student council elections commissioner] equated with bribery. The practice has "absolutely no place in an election campaign," he wrote.

Last year two candidates promised $2000 of their executive salaries to the Sexual Assault Support Centre if they were elected. This year VP Academic-elect Brenda Ogembo promised $1000 to an "international student"...

Ogembo said she did not intend to bribe potential voters.

"It was not my intention to come off as bribing but I understand his position," she said.

Back in my day I remember that even some student politicians I knew badly needed the salary/tuition write off to make ends meet. Some Ubyssey editors tried to make their $2,000 annual stipend for working on the paper stretch for six months.

It would be interesting to see a Ubyssey story which asks if there is now a de facto glass ceiling banning the poor from competing and winning in student politics. After all, if you have to make gross offers of patronage to voting blocs to win, that certainly would deter any one who is poor and would need all of their student council honoraria from running for office.

Might be worth looking at, I suggest.