LSU election going unnoticed by students
A lack of communication from the LSU puts the onus on candidates to get the word out
By SIDDHARTH TEOTIA & ERIN CONNERS
The Langara Students’ Union board of directors election began Tuesday — and many students say they didn’t even know.
The LSU elections, for which voting began Oct. 17 and runs through Oct. 20, have historically had low voter turnout. As far back as 2012, the election yielded only 141 ballots cast, despite approximately 10,000 students at the time.
While other post-secondary institutions often plaster posters across their campuses, the LSU does not. At some schools, including Douglas College, student unions make it part of their policies to provide free promotional materials to candidates.
While campaign flyers for just five of the 21 candidates could be found on some bulletin boards during the week-long campaign period prior to voting, the Voice did not see any notices on campus from the LSU itself informing voters of the upcoming election.
“I’m not seeing any kind of poster or anything on any of the walls,” said Noah Epting, a first-year creative writing student at Langara. “The fact that I can’t walk through the building and really be aware that there’s an election happening – I think that’s the most important thing that needs to change.”
All-candidates, few voters
At an all-candidates meeting held in the LSU upper lounge on Oct. 12, election hopefuls presented their campaign statements – but only a handful of potential voters attended.
The Voice could not find any signs in the upper lounge or elsewhere in the LSU building about the event. Several students wandering into the lounge, confused by what was happening, turned back around and left.
Komaldeep Kaur, the outgoing LSU vice-president of external affairs, is running for VP of student life in this election. During her speech, she said her conversations with students over the past year have made her realize that many are unfamiliar with the LSU.
“Most of the students at Langara, they don’t know about what LSU offers and what the LSU is,” Kaur said. “LSU is mostly recognized just as a building at Langara College.”
The LSU media committee told the Voice over email the election notice is posted on “a website,” and the current board members and volunteers are promoting the election.
“During polling, we will post on social media and the website,” it said.
The LSU did not respond to questions about how its board members and volunteers are promoting the election or if they do anything on campus to increase awareness.
Last year, official election results showed only about three per cent of students voted in the LSU election.
Most lucrative roles have no competition
Past ballots obtained by the Voice had only one candidate in most positions. Following an article by the Voice earlier this month — about prospective student candidates who were not deemed eligible for positions they sought and were funneled elsewhere — there are more candidates in many positions this year.
However, the positions that previously received the highest stipends, VP of internal affairs and VP of finance and administration, still had only one candidate each. According to the 2023 LSU financial statements, the VP internal role was provided $21,384 and VP finance and administration received $20,804.
These stipends were lower in the year prior, with VP internal at $8,200 and VP finance and administration at $2,250, according to the 2022 financial statement.
Several students complained to the Voice earlier this month that they were excluded from running for the finance position.
Keshav Puri, a first-year business management student, had applied to run for the finance role, but was only deemed eligible for VP of external affairs — a position he said he showed no qualifications for.
“[They told me] ‘if you don’t want that position, you can step back.’”
— With files from Mateo Muego