Election by-laws changing: no one has problems anymore

File photo. (Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio / Google Images Commons)

(This article was written for The Quill’s April Fool’s Day edition, The Swill, and is therefore entirely fictitious in its content.)

The Swill has learned that the Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU) will introduce bylaw changes which would see dramatic alterations to their electoral procedures. These amendments are being put forth because campus elections have become “so friendly, respectful, and happy that they are no longer required,” according to a senior staff member.

The staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying many of the articles were “old, outdated, and not being used anyways.”

The proposed changes would see the reduction of the Returning Officer’s (RO) role, and the complete abolition of the Elections and Referenda Discipline, Interpretation and Enforcement (ERDIE) Board. The RO would be restricted to simply running the polling stations, counting the ballots, and posting the results. According to the staff member, BUSU Council feels that candidates can police themselves. “The candidates always show such a high degree of respect for each other. Plus, the RO’s job is now very simple to understand.”

Members of the union who spoke to The Swill seemed to generally support the move. Rob Kirtley, a third year biology student, thought they should go even further. “Why even have by-laws?” he asked, “Do they really serve any useful purpose? When was the last time we used them anyways?”

Second year nursing student Olivia Roebuck agrees. “There are so many – it’s really confusing!” She notes the atmosphere on campus has obviously changed. “Maybe, like, a lot of years ago, elections were a big deal, but I don’t think that’s the case today,” she says. “Everyone gets along so well, there’s really no need for bylaws anymore.”

On several occasions, students approached by our reporters hastily fled the scene upon hearing the words “BUSU” and “election” in the same sentence. In one extreme, but isolated incident, a student barricaded himself in the bell tower of Clark Hall. Fortunately, senior university officials managed to coax him out without needing to call in a police negotiation team.

The changes have also attracted the attention of the greater BU community. A university official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the institution, says while he sees where BUSU is coming from, it might be helpful to have some mechanism in place to solve problems, in the extremely unlikely event there is a dispute.

“It’s important to ensure that every effort is made to have a collegial discussion with all parties involved,” he says. “There is a need for more collegial discussion when issues arise at BU – collegial discussions should be able to solve just about any problem. We really want to emphasize that – collegial discussion is the way to go.”

These changes will be proposed at the next BWGM (Bi-weekly General Meeting) of the union, scheduled for the evening of April 10th. Rumors are also circulating that a motion will be put forth to increase the frequency of General Meetings to weekly. This would allow even more students to take part, amid recent complaints from the students who could not make the regularly scheduled time.

Republished from The Swill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 27,  April 2, 2013.