Chandler Jolliffe isn’t happy with the way the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union election campaigns have been going — and he’s not being quiet about it.
“As a former coordinator and someone who has worked in the Students’ Union, who has been part of elections before and just as a student, I think I’ve just become really, really frustrated with the system,” explained Jolliffe, who was the Foot Patrol coordinator last year. He also held a position during orientation week, but currently doesn’t fulfill any role within WLUSU.
Since the beginning of the election campaign, Jolliffe has been extremely critical of the candidates by releasing video blogs and voicing his scepticism online. One of the main issues for him have been the platforms released by the presidential candidates and what he believes is a lack of understanding of what the role of president actually does.
“The first thing [with the video blogs] was trying to create engagement with the election. A lot of students feel so disengaged with WLUSU politics or the Students’ Union in general. And I think a lot of that is actually the fault of elections,” he continued.
“My goal is to get students back engaged with elections and bring the focus back to real issues and called the candidates out on some of the fluff that they throw into their platforms.”
Jolliffe noted that the presidential candidates are presenting items and promises in the platforms that are out of the jurisdiction of WLUSU. Advocating on behalf of undergraduate students is large aspect of the president’s role, but Jolliffe asserted that this shouldn’t be the focus.
The Students’ Union also operates as a business entity and Jolliffe noted that strong knowledge of the financial situation of WLUSU’s businesses and services is essential.
“The actual names of WLUSU services — ERT, Foot Patrol, Peer Help Line … like all the services that the Students’ Union actual runs — you’ll see mentioned once or never in some of the platforms,” he said, adding that Wilf’s, which has been losing revenue the last couple of years, was glossed over by many of the candidates.
With voter turnout only reaching a level of around 30 per cent last year, complete engagement between WLUSU and the student body has been an on-going issue. According to Jolliffe, this is an issue that is not unique to the election period.
“I think the problem is actually cyclical. Students have shown a disinterest in the union and so they are not engaged in the issues. And since they aren’t engaged in the issues, the candidates do gimmick campaigns to try and gain the attention in any way possible,” he explained.
“People don’t want to read these long, drawn-out platforms full of ‘BS’ half of the time.”
Jolliffe will be releasing videos up until this weekend and will continue to question promises made by director and presidential candidates.
“The vast majority of the student population has a negative connotation of the Students’ Union, and that’s why a lot of them don’t vote,” he concluded. “I understand how it works … I think I’ve gotten engaged in this way because I think I’ve just been annoyed, I want people to start seeing it in a different light.