The results were announced on March 25 at 5:30 p.m., with only 12.5 per cent of students voting, compared to 12 per cent last year.
Leon Thompson beat out Justin Lasnier for vice-president student affairs by a slim 83 votes, while vice-president operations and finance incumbent Scott Hitchings got 57 per cent of the vote over Matt Donlevy. The remaining positions were won by acclamation: the 2010-11 University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union will also have Chris Stoicheff as president, Blair Shumlich as vice-president external affairs, and Kelsey Topola as vice-president academic affairs.
While excited to win the position of student affairs, Thompson was disappointed in the voter turnout.
“It’s terrible, absolutely terrible. I will admit it. We need to get students involved. There is a massive disconnect between students and their government and that’s something I’d like to change. We need to figure out a way to get students involved in the democratic process.”
Current USSU president Warren Kirkland says he thinks the low turnout is due to the lack of controversy surrounding this year’s election.
“My personal perspective on politics in general is that if the politicians aren’t doing a vehemently terrible job, there’s no interest in what they’re doing,” he said. “I like to think we’ve done a good job this year and as a result there’s not as much interest.”
To compare, Kirkland cited the 2007 USSU elections when Ryan Allen and Cody Lang ran for re-election. Allegations of unprofessionalism from some executive members, combined with five people running for president and a choice of several candidates for each position, resulted in a voter turnout of 25 per cent.
Last year’s election was criticized for the lack of diversity, with five male candidates running uncontested. This year, Kelsey Topola was acclaimed to vice-president academic, and two Aboriginal students ran for vice-president student affairs.
Thompson said he was happy that two First Nations students were running in the election.
“Potentially being the first Aboriginal person on the USSU executive is exciting, and I hope to bring my unique perspective to student government,” he said. “Aboriginal representation on campus is important, and something that we as students need.”
photo: Tannara Yelland