An Open Letter to the Students of StFX University

 
 

I am hard-pressed to believe that my time as Students’ Union President has come to an end. Even as I write this, I still expect to receive emails sent to an account that is no longer in my name, telling me about the next problem that needs to be resolved. Similar to the ones who came before me, now that I have reached the end, I find myself looking back on everything that was achieved.

The Executive Team and I were determined to accomplish many things on behalf of our students, but most importantly we were determined to do our best for them, every single day. In light of recent events, I can perhaps say that a number of us on the team are leaving with mixed feelings. I do not presume to speak on behalf of my team, but for me, there were moments in this year that felt like something out of a film.

As President of the Students’ Union, I felt strongly that it was my responsibility to uphold the dignity of my office. I was aware of my position as a highly visible member of both the Union and the school; I never wanted to do something that would reflect badly on either of these institutions. However, it was challenging to say nothing as I witnessed behaviour and comments in the second half of my tenure that were exceptionally problematic and also representative of a larger rhetoric that has in recent times, penetrated university campuses.

I will begin by stating that I am very conscious of the power of words. This is not only as an outcome of my background, but also because of the effect of a very different type of letter that I wrote around this time last year. Words have the power to harm, to heal, to blind, and to reveal. These revelations might be about you or about others. Most importantly, in all of these instances, words have the ability to impact. As someone who interacts with different systems of oppression in my every day life, I have witnessed how words can be used to subjugate and stifle, or to liberate and free. For this reason, I am very careful with how, where, and when I use my own words. I will state that awareness of my words further increased in my time as President because it was part of my job to speak on behalf of over four thousand people.

In our childhood, we are taught that honesty and telling the truth are important values. As we get older, we begin to choose what is important to us personally and how we will uphold these values. From my perspective, truth and honesty are imperative for the position of leadership that the President holds. Students pay for the operation of the Union and vote to choose the representatives of the organization. Therefore, students have a right to know what happens in the Union each step of the way. In fact, it is the duty of students as constituents to ensure that their elected leaders are doing what they said they would and are making decisions that uphold the democratic processes of the institution.

If students have deemed that their representatives are not performing the jobs they were elected to do, then students have the inherent ability to remove these individuals from their positions. The Students’ Union, similar to other democratic institutions, has checks and balances that are intended to ensure that no one person has the ability to do what they want without repercussions. All students need to do is ask for the information about these processes and it shall be given to them.

The checks and balances in a democratic institution include a healthy Fourth Estate. It is the job of news and media to investigate different situations and offer analysis to help the reader gain perspective. While holding a position of leadership, it is expected that a person will receive criticism at any time. Open criticism of institutions and leadership are one of the best indicators of a strong democracy. These criticisms hold leaders accountable for their actions and ensure that the operations of a given democratic body shall fulfill their intended purpose. This is why the autonomy of the press must be protected and held at the highest regard. As students participating in a democratic process, you do not have to be afraid of offering criticism or of speaking the truth, regardless of the threats of lawsuits and promises of anger that may follow.

In addition to my reflections about the presidency and the Students’ Union, I would also like to offer my thanks to everyone who contributed to making this year so incredible.

I will begin with my Executive Team; Tiffany, Tega, Kallie, Clancy, and Sean, I never imagined that I could have a team as great as you. Tega, your wisdom and resilience have been nothing short of awe-inspiring to all of us. Kallie, your humour and ability to offer an objective perspective always kept us grounded. Clancy, your determination and compassion reminded us to be kind to one another. Sean, your creativity and ability to bring people together kept us close. Last, but never least, to my wonderful VP Academic, Tiffany. Thank you for being my right-hand, confidant, and close friend. When we were both elected that cold, January night in 2018, I never thought that I would gain such a beautiful friendship and partner-in-crime/all-things-theU. You and I will always be “the throat-puncher and the politician” respectively, as we were once humorously described.

I would also like to give a warm thank you to Tanaka, our fantastic Chair of Council. In our organization, the positions of President and Chair of Council are set up to have a complicated relationship. I think you and I were truly able to turn this belief on its head. I could not have asked for a better Chair, you led with grace, strength, and an uncanny ability to keep calm, even when everything went wrong.

There are so many people who have contributed to the Union beyond just the ones I have named here. Thank you for everything you contributed and for all that you did for our students.

Finally, I would like to thank you, the students of StFX University. You have treated my team and I with kindness, trusted us to do the right thing, and supported us in a way we had never anticipated. In all of our decision-making, at the end of the day, we were always faced with answering just one question. “Is this in the best interest of our students?” If we could see that something was not, we changed the circumstances; we searched for new information, we asked for advice, we looked at best practice, and we discussed and disagreed. All this was with the objective of ensuring that we were making the highest quality of decisions for our students. You were our motivation for pushing StFX to be the best place it could be. By electing us, you trusted us with the great responsibility of representing your voice; this was not a task that any of us took lightly. Thank you, for believing in us and for giving us -for giving me- the opportunity to serve you, the students.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Mesay

President

StFX Students’ Union

 

Council Controversy of Students’ Union

 
 

Incoming president Cecil VanBuskirk wakes up dormant 1972 Act

During the 2016 U.S primaries, the Washington Post made an ominous change to their slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” The message intended to provoke conversation surrounding the state of democracy in the United States. Without discourse, democratic institutions would certainly perish. Death, however, would not come swiftly; rather, the slow creep of apathy would inevitably lead to the erosion of democratic institutions. Discourse is the preserving light; without it, the roots of democracy atrophy, and darkness follows.

Today is a day for discourse.

Prior to debate, participants must have mutual understanding of the reality, principles and series of events that necessitate discussion. Contra principia negantem non est disputandem. The past few weeks have been full of debate lacking a common ground; therefore, an overview of recent events is in order.

As outlined in the SU Bylaws (the operational document for the Students’ Union), the hired (as opposed to elected) positions of the Students’ Union (SU) have historically (15+ years) been selected by a panel composed of the incoming SU President & Vice-President, outgoing Vice-President (for the position being hired), two councilors and the General Manager (GM) of the Students Union (advisory role, no vote on panel). This panel interviews applicants and then conducts a vote to hire the most competent candidate. A panel system was likely designed to avoid nepotism, especially given the relatively small size of this campus. Once a decision is made, the individual is appointed by the incoming president via an email with an offer of employment attached.

During the recent hiring of the VP Finance and Operations, two candidates were interviewed: Patrick Wallace and Brody Haskell. The panel voted 3-1-1 in favor of Mr. Wallace’s hiring. Following the decision, incoming president Cecil VanBuskirk sent an offer of employment to Mr. Wallace, who accepted the offer.

During the following days, VanBuskirk brought a discrepancy between the By-laws and the SU Act of Incorporation (The Act) to the attention of the GM and the Chair of Council. Within the By-Laws, a panel structure is described for the VP hiring process. In The Act, however, a line item states that the president shall appoint the VP Finance and Operations.

The Act has not been reviewed in decades and is not a document referenced to for day-to-day operations. With that said, legally, The Act is the superseding operational document for the Students’ Union. Up until this point, the line had been interpreted as the president offering the position to the candidate once the panel had voted. Under VanBuskirk’s interpretation, however, the statement provides the president with the unilateral authority to appoint whomever they chose to the position.

VanBuskirk then proceeded to act on this interpretation. Within 24 hours, the already-accepted offer of employment to Mr. Wallace was rescinded, and a new offer of employment was sent to Mr. Haskell. When the issue was brought before council, VanBuskirk referred to the discrepancy between the two documents. VanBuskirk also stated that he felt the panel’s decision to hire Mr. Wallace over Mr. Haskell was rooted in prejudice pertaining to the candidate’s race, gender, ethnicity, and political affiliations. It is worth noting that both candidates are straight, white, cisgender men from Nova Scotia. This leaves political affiliation, which was allegedly not discussed in the interview. When questioned about his comments, VanBuskirk stood by his original allegations of bias:

“Why did I do this then… The reason is that I witnessed some unethical behavior… I witnessed actions that caused concern that would impact the voting on the hiring panel. And then, as a counselor… I have a duty to act in accordance with the Students’ Union by-laws, policies, procedures. So, then I posed the question as to what qualifies this hiring panel, and what criteria makes it a hiring panel…”

A member of council prodded VanBuskirk further, requesting he elaborate on the specific unethical behavior he observed on the panel.

“To me, this boils down to fairness. And when I witnessed fairness not being properly practiced in the hiring panel, that’s when I raised a question to Happiness (International Student Representativa) … The procedure that was followed, I prefer not to directly comment on the circumstances around them, but I witnessed unfairness and I witnessed discrimination, what I perceived as discrimination under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act and under the [StFX] Code of Conduct.”

The alleged discrimination is not, however, VanBuskirk’s main concern. Again, and again, he reiterated that the issue at hand was not the selection of candidates, but the discrepancy between two major organizational documents.

“It’s not so much a matter of what was done. The bylaws need to be changed. And I understand that there will be a motion on the agenda to change that, and I couldn’t be in more support of that. But for right now, we need to uphold the bylaws and do the bylaws justice.”

The majority of council agreed that a discrepancy exists – that is, the way in which the Students’ Union had been conducting the VP Finance hiring process was not in line with the process outlined in The Act. Additionally, the lawyer retained by the SU has confirmed that The Act is the superseding organizational document.

In fact, several line items of The Act conflict with current SU electoral and operational practices. For instance, The Act states that the President and VP Academic are required to run as a slate; that is, as running mates. This discrepancy draws the validity of the past election, along with those of the past four years, into question. Vice President MacLennan and Incoming President VanBuskirk debated the issue in council:

MacLennan: “Why are you only choosing to follow one point, rather than the rest of the points in The Act of Incorporation… For example, if you want to actually follow The Act of Incorporation, then we should be talking about the election processes thus far. Within The Act of Incorporation, the President and Vice President should have been elected via slate.”

VanBuskirk: “I agree.”

MacLennan: “So why aren’t you contesting that point?”

VanBuskirk: “Because it has already happene- “

MacLennan: “Because it benefits you. But you also already hired someone for the VP Finance position.”

VanBuskirk: “Here’s the issue, O.K. The issue was around the hiring process. We seek out legal advice around the hiring process and after an expert guided us on what exactly to do, we followed that legal action. Not Cecil, The U.”

When VanBuskirk was asked in Council about his relationship with Mr. Haskell, he stated they were not close:

Sasha Paul, Gallery Member: “I have serious concerns based off of what everyone has been bringing up already, that the moment that you chose to bring up these discrepancies, was just when you didn’t feel like your friend had been given a fair chance. Because let’s be honest-“

Unknown Gallery member: “Friend?”

Paul: “He is your acquaintance, is he not?”

Cecil: “Ah, no he’s not, actually.”

Paul: Ok, if you want to go down that route that’s fine. But [inaudible] you are not proving yourself to be a trustworthy President… You’re not even in the position yet. And so, I think this really is going to impact how your team is going to move forward in the next year, and how people are going to view you, because you continue to refer to fairness and to ethics, but your actions are the complete opposite of that. What you are doing here is manipulating things that [inaudible] are at fault, rather than to actually genuinely fix them, you are using that fault to push forward your own agenda. And that’s not what the Students’ Union is about. The Students’ Union is about representing everybody in this room, because they pay Students’ Union fees. This is not free, right? And what you’re doing is taking away people’s voices. You, eliminating the other people’s voices from that panel, the five members that you chose to ignore, is really taking way their voices, and that demonstrates to me what you’re going to do next year, and I’m very concerned about that.

In response to the allegations that VanBuskirk is acquaintances with Haskell, a number of students directed The Xaverian Weekly to an Instagram photo of the two of them, posted to Mr. Haskell’s account. Additionally, two students noted that Haskell and VanBuskirk sit together in class and have presented a group presentation together.

Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 4.43.42 PM.png

The Xaverian Weekly reached out to VanBuskirk to comment on his relationship with Mr. Haskell:

“I can say that he is someone I know from doing a group project with in the business faculty. I would argue that I have a similar relationship with both Paddy and Brody, they are both aquiantances (sic), nice guys and are both supporters of mine.”

The recent comments by VanBuskirk appear to contradict his previous statement made in front of council.

In response to the controversy surrounding his actions, VanBuskirk wrote a statement for The Xaverian Weekly that has since been published on his personal Facebook account. In summary, VanBuskirk states that the initial hiring process was unconstitutional. Additionally, he outlines why Mr. Haskell was the superior candidate, citing past experience in student government, leadership experience, and base-level Government of Canada Security Clearance, among others. The full list can be found in his statement, published to our website. In comparing Mr. Haskell to Mr. Wallace, the statement alleges that Mr. Wallace was only originally picked because of his popularity and reputation as a “nice guy”.

The posted statement has garnered a significant amount of controversy, with students posting comments both in favor of and against VanBuskirk’s actions. The Xaverian Weekly reached out to some of the vocal students for comment; their statements are included at the end of this article.

In summary, a disagreement between the By-Laws and The Act left VanBuskirk with the legal authority to circumvent the established hiring panel and appoint the candidate who was not chosen for the position. This required VanBuskirk to rescind the offer that had already been accepted by Mr. Wallace. While the legality of the move is no longer under significant dispute, the ethics of circumventing a hiring panel composed of democratically elected councilors and the incoming Vice President has been challenged. Additionally, the rationale behind selecting a single line item to pursue as contradictory, rather than the entire document, has raised questions regarding the intent behind VanBuskirk’s move.

For any readers wishing to follow this story, Council will be meeting to discuss the issue this Sunday at 3:00pm in Council Chambers, 4th Floor SUB.

Statements:

“I am incredibly disappointed in the initial response that was released by Cecil in regards to the VPFO selection process. He did not demonstrate an understanding of the concerns raised by the students towards the decision made, as most of his letter focused on justifying his actions. If he was truly listening to what students have been saying, he would be finding a solution to right perceived wrongdoing, rather than doubling down and blaming students for taking issue with the choices made. This is not acceptable conduct for the incoming student union president.” - Student, anonymous by request

“If it's broken, then it should be fixed. Cecil may have not addressed the situation as discrete as most of the U would have liked him to, but what Cecil did was address it in the most transparent way that he possibly could have. I'm proud to call Cecil a friend because of how real he is. His personality is contagious and he stays true to himself, which is very hard to find these days. To add to this, it takes a true leader to attach their name to a controversial subject and I applaud his passion for the StFX students. Instead of attacking his character or actions I personally think people need to accept that the U has not been following the correct rules and should now take action by correcting the mistakes that have been made. I am excited for Cecil and the rest of his team and to see what steps they can make towards a truly transparent Union.”

- Elizabeth Gushue, Student

“There are several things that, for me at least, don’t add up. Constitutionally, yes you are supposed to appoint the VP Finance, but why not appoint the VP finance that that was democratically chosen by a hiring panel within the U. As Emma already said, as students we put our faith in the hiring panels of the U, and clearly, they thought that Paddy was the better choice. I refuse to believe that

the hiring panel selected Paddy because he was the “nicest guy” and for you to say that is rude and disrespectful. Yes you may believe Brody to be the best candidate for the position, and I’m sure you fought for that, but you lost, and to go against the democratic decision of the hiring panel goes against the core values we have as StFX students and just as responsible citizens. Further, to now go and say “well I chose Will Fraser over him for a different position” is just ridiculous. Obviously you weren’t going to appoint Brody to a different position when you wanted him as VP finance. Arguing that you passed him over for something else is a weak and superficial argument argument at best. I have never felt this let down by the organization that is supposed to defend me as I do right now.”

But what do I know, I’m one of those people who “doesn’t have a brain” as per one of your former posts...

- John Walker, Student

“I know I’m not around anymore but I’m deeply saddened and frustrated by your actions, Cecil. The U has taken tremendous efforts over the last couple years to be more inclusive and dispel the belief that it is a clique. I can’t help but feel you’ve taken the step forward that was made towards that goal, two steps back.”

- Annie Sirois, StFX SU President 2017-2018.

 

Is Legal Ethical?

 
 

Outdated Students’ Union policies give way to totalitarian appointment of Brody Haskell

Over Super Bowl weekend, the Washington Post published a minute-long advertisement expressing their slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” It was made to represent the struggle foreign correspondents face in the rise of journalistic related terror across the world. This ad can also relate to the current situation involving our incoming president and the recent controversy.

First off, a vote happened. Cecil VanBuskirk was elected, with 63% of the popular vote. As a result, he takes on the position of president of the Students’ Union, and with that comes the responsibility of representing StFX students. 

Perhaps a critique of the voting results is needed. I can assure you that several people voted for VanBuskirk because of his wide-spread presence on campus meeting with societies and departments. Perhaps people viewed Will Fraser as abrasive and too ‘know-it-all’ for them to get his vote. But, there is a difference between voting for a candidate based on a public appearance and voting for a candidate based on research of their platform. 

“Knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free,” the Washington Post commercial claimed. The student body should  reflect on that mantra and make an informed vote for the candidate that reflects what they value in the future.

Secondly, yes nepotistic qualities were shown when VanBuskirk chose his friend Brody Haskell as the new Vice President of Finance and Operations. The recent controversy happened at the council meeting on March 17, 2019 regarding the hiring process for executive members of the Students’ Union.

VanBuskirk found a clause  in the By-Laws that needs fixing. Isn’t that a good thing? Within the Students’ Union, there are three main documents: The Act of Incorporation (The Act), By-Laws, and a Policy Manual. They all should be seamlessly fluid with one another, and unfortunately, they are not currently up-to-date. 

This is also a problem with the high turnover rate of Council positions, as actually changing By-Laws takes time, and is not simply voted upon in council, it must be brought up to the legislature. The responsibility of the By-Laws falls to the Chair of Council. It is a gargantuan task to go through every single law and make sure it is consistent with The Act, albeit to have it done within a year!

The Act of Incorporation contains the clause VanBuskirk enacted to supersede the By-Laws. It is a document that has not been updated since 1972. That should say more about the current rule and law processes of the Students’ Union than of VanBuskirk himself. He did not do anything illegal, he was well within the scope of the policies.

Don’t blame VanBuskirk, blame the Students’ Union for neglecting their duty of hiring lawyers to edit documents that impact the integrity of the Students’ Union. At least now, an increasing amount of students are voicing their displeasure about the issue on social media. This is better than the alternative of having no conversation. However, only a quarter of the student body voted to begin with in this past election. A lack of publicity effort on behalf of the Students’ Union, who did not advertise the debate in The Xaverian Weekly and advertised only 13 days before the election on their own social media account, could be factors in those numbers. 

In the end, the lines between ethical and legal became muddied. The extent to how Vanbuskirk exerted his power showed the flaws in the systems of the Students’ Union at large. In order to have a total democratic student government means that the policies and acts that are a part of it have to show democratic values, and without it, there will always be an opportunity for unethical behaviour, however legal it may be.  

 

African Heritage Month Preface

 
 
 

 A note from the Students’ Union president

When I was first asked to write the foreword to the African Heritage Month edition of The Xaverian Weekly, I was excited but simultaneously anxious. In a book, the foreword often decides whether the reader will turn the page or not. I am hoping that what I write will encourage you not only to look to the next page, but also to read the whole edition of this paper. The special contributors for this month are students that you see and interact with everyday and we all share a special characteristic. We are black. Not only are we black, but we go to school at a historically white university. 

You might notice that students of African descent stick out at StFX, this is because we do. By the colour of our skin, by how we express ourselves, by our culture, and most significantly, by the oppression we face by virtue of our existence. I do not point out the last because I am attempting to be controversial, but because experiencing oppression is embedded in the lived experience of being black in Canada. In this country, it is impossible to talk about the experience of blackness without talking about racism. In that same vein, talking about racism is also part of the natural discourse of the black people on this campus; we talk about it all the time. If you are not black/person of colour, do not have black friends, or perhaps have black friends who do not talk about racism around you, this may come as a surprise. Nonetheless, it is true. When you read through the pages of this newspaper, the student contributors will talk about what it means to be black, why we are proud of our heritage, what it is to be from a different country, the identity of our people’s heroes and sheroes, and why we continue to celebrate African Heritage Month and dedicate newspaper editions in its honour. My hope then for you, the reader, is to open your mind, heart, and soul to the possibility of reading something that makes you uncomfortable. When you get that weird twinge, ask yourself why you are feeling that way. If you can answer that question honestly, my hope is that you do not sit idly by with your gut churning, but instead you stand up and do something. A whole group of students are opening up about what its like to be them. Use this edition as an opportunity, as a moment to learn, but more importantly as a chance to change. 

Does Your Vote Count?

 
 

Problems within the Students’ Union elections

On Wednesday, January 23, Cecil VanBuskirk was elected as the incoming Students’ Union president with 741 votes. While VanBuskirk was all smiles cutting cake at the Inn after his victory, his election win may not be an accurate representation of what StFX students want, but rather a representation of the advantages to running for president in a flawed Students’ Union electoral system.

Elections for Students’ Union positions have been plagued over the last couple of years by a multitude of problems. Elections have suffered from low levels of engagement, inability to find candidates for positions like VP Academic, and flaws in the electronic voting system itself. As the Students’ Union presidential election results become official and elections for other representatives get underway, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate whether the Students’ Union elections are run in a way that ensures the best candidates are elected to some of the most important positions for representing students on campus.

While casting ballots electronically has its problems, such as making sure the Students’ Union elections are equitable, it is one of the few areas of success for the Students’ Union. By having an electronic voting system, they’ve avoided the costs that running a paper ballot system incurs, such as staffing polling booths. While paper ballots are feasible on such a small campus, the Students’ Union’s decision to stick to electronic ballots means that they don’t need to worry about the organizational capabilities they’d need to get students to physical ballot boxes.

However, the emails with links to the Students’ Union electronic voting site have been known to get filtered into spam folders and are easily buried under the numerous other emails students receive in one day from the university. Electronic voting systems can also be susceptible to hacking or electoral fraud, although the Students’ Union voting system claims that “voters who bypass authentication or have already voted are denied access to the ballot.” The Students’ Union should ensure that the way they email students voting links isn’t impeding participation in elections.

Another aspect of the Students’ Union electoral system that may be discouraging, or confusing students, is the ballot itself. The Students’ Union uses a ranked ballot system, except in the case of a single candidate running for a position, in which case students must vote yes or no instead. This means that if no candidate receives a majority during an election, the candidate with the least amount of first place votes will be eliminated, and those who voted for the least popular candidate will have their votes reallocated to their second-choice candidates, and so on until a candidate has a plurality. Given that most students are probably more familiar with first-past-the-post or simple majority ballots, it may be worth sending an explanation of how ranked ballots work during the election season, especially given that there has been confusion over the wording on the ballot instructions in the past.

The Students’ Union has extensive bylaws for when campaigns and nominations can open, but they have been a bit lax on them especially with the presidential election this year. The call for presidential nominations opened two days late, and since nomination deadlines were extended due to a lack of applicants, the candidates were announced three days after the beginning of when campaigning should have started.  Any potential B.Ed. students who wished to run were also at a disadvantage, as their classes started several days after the deadline for nominations, impacting their ability to gather signatures needed for nomination forms. If the Students’ Union truly wants to attract the widest range of candidates and give them the best chance to engage with voters during campaigns, they should make sure they follow their own election bylaws or amend them to be fairer to all.

A big issue during the recent Students’ Union president election was slander and attack ads. Candidates in elections can discuss other candidates’ policies, but the election bylaws forbid slandering other slates or candidates. While no candidate should be personally attacked for their platform, candidates should be careful when making accusations of slander if the claims are verifiable and legitimate statements that they’ve made in debates or posts on their campaign page. Words matter enormously during elections, so it is best for candidates to make well-informed statements before other students, the Students’ Union, or the campus media hold you accountable for them.

Students are also barely engaged with Students’ Union elections, as is evident from the approximately 23% voter turnout for the Students’ Union president elections this year. While many students are aware of elections on campus, most simply don’t care enough to cast a vote until it’s someone they know or unless they already follow campus politics. If this trend continues, Students’ Union elections are likely to follow mainstream politics in which elections become a quasi-popularity contest, instead of having those in power actually represent, in this case, what is in the best interests of StFX students.

Some of the lack of involvement from students may stem from the fact that many don’t know what exactly the Students’ Union does, and how much their advocacy, or lack thereof, affects our everyday experience at StFX. The Students’ Union has taken the initiative to recruit volunteers and students at large to try to inform students about the election and the importance of elected Students’ Union representatives, but the tables they’ve set up are few and fairly easy for students to walk past.  Perhaps investment in a website or providing a file to all voters that outline the duties of all Students’ Union positions along with a brief overview of all the candidates for specific positions during elections could remedy the issue and create a more informed campus.

No electoral system or election is perfect, and the Students’ Union elections are no exception. The Students’ Union should seriously contemplate how to increase student engagement in elections, make sure that their bylaws are inclusive, and make sure the electoral system is easy to understand and access. After all, having election results that reflect the interests of the majority are crucial when the Students’ Union is the primary organization advocating for students on issues with university administration, all levels of government, and other societies.