August 18, 2014
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Editorial — Hopefully campus will not be stuck with Lau for life

Darcy Ropchan
Opinion Editor
Mar 12, 2014

Last week, students at the University of Alberta elected William Lau — a presidential candidate who ran on a platform of caricature-like facial recognition, vague promises and a campaign that reeked of mediocrity — as their 2014-15 Students’ Union President. Adam Woods, who ran a less flashy campaign yet one that had more substance than Lau’s, came in second place in the race. To anyone following the results of the 2014 SU elections, the presidential results are continuing the disturbing trend of a gimmicky, lazy and borderline comical campaign winning over one of substance and merit.

But for those who didn’t support Lau’s presidency, it seems there’s some recourse. At midnight on Monday, March 10, Lau was disqualified in a Discipline, Interpretation and Enforcement Board ruling due to third party campaigning done by the Chinese Student and Scholar Association. The association had made posts on a Renren page on Feb. 26 and March 6 advertising Lau’s run for president. The ruling went on to state that Lau made no effort to distance himself from the third party campaigning as he was unaware of the situation, and was subsequently fined $403.70. That fine put Lau $200.32 over his campaign budget, which disqualified him as a presidential candidate.

First, it should be noted that this ruling doesn’t necessarily remove Lau as the SU president, and he’s launched an appeal, the date for which is yet to be determined as of March 11 when The Gateway went to press. And to be fair, this ruling seems more indicative of an incompetent CRO more than anything else. This should have been brought to light much earlier — not five days after the election results were announced.

But although a less-than-perfect CRO and unfortunate actions by third parties played into this particular mess, this isn’t the first time issues around Lau’s campaigning techniques have been brought into question. During the campaigning period, Woods voiced concerns about Lau using a motorized scooter — due to a broken leg — for illegal campaigning purposes such as decking it out with posters and posting photos of students taking “rides” on it.

The merit of the concerns raised by Woods are open to debate, but the fact that Lau’s campaigning techniques have been called into question multiple times should show that something’s not right. Lau should have faced more scrutiny for these accusations.

Unfortunately, that’s what students voted for this year. They voted for a president who admitted in this year’s Gateway Executive Report Card that he’s played a largely supportive role with some of his projects this year, and a supporting role is not what people should be looking for in a leader.

In comparison, Woods ran a campaign based on experience and concrete ideas. If you need proof, you need only look to the election platforms that both candidates put out on their websites during the election. By reading Woods’ platform, readers could see that he put together a carefully thought-out platform with clear goals and methods to reach those goals such as advocating for mental health and fighting the CoSSS fee. Although perhaps not the most visually striking, it was obvious that Woods was the man with the plan.

In stark contrast, Lau’s platform was rife with buzzwords and vague campaign goals such as “Prioritizing Student Voice” and “Maximizing Student Representation.” Yes, he does have some decent points, but it seems that most of Lau’s platform points simply match the job description of the SU President. Students voted for a president who campaigned on the promise that he will do at least the bare minimum of what is required.

Outside of his platform, Lau seemed to agree with his opponents on certain issues brought up at forums and debates. Of course there’s nothing wrong with candidates having the same stances on issues, but when it becomes frequent — as it did in Lau’s campaign — it should be raising red flags with voters. With Lau agreeing with his competitors on more than a few issues, there seems to have been no point in voting for him at all.

“Lau For Life” sounds more like a prison sentence than a SU President that we should be excited about. Instead of electing a president with innovative ideas, experience and the knowledge to lead the Students’ Union, students elected nothing more than a minor campus celebrity.



Comments

So if I’ve understood this right:

1. You didn’t like Lau’s campaign.
2. You liked Adam’s campaign better.
3. You admit to the CRO complaint as violating the limitations period rule.
4. You conclude that because you didn’t like Lau’s campaign, it’s good that the CRO had him removed? Brilliant logic.



Posted by Gobblygook123 on Mar 12, 2014

LAU 4 LYFE.



Posted by Lau Lover on Mar 12, 2014

Opinion articles like these are annoying. I don’t want to hear someone complaining and being negative for 90% of the article. I want to hear positive support. I may just be too cliche or cheesy, but I think that’s what the University of Alberta is about. While I appreciate people’s opinions and I’m glad the Student Union elections are such a hot topic on campus, I can’t help but feel like this article could have had a much more optimistic spin. Maybe next time more about Adam Woods or what we as a University can hope for from Lau, and less about how you think our student life will now be a prison sentence.



Posted by Kathleen on Mar 12, 2014

LOL @ anyone who thinks that the Gateway exec report cards are an accurate reflection of how the execs did. Why do you think no one pays any attention to them anymore? Everyone knows they’re kinda bullshit. The grade you get is mostly a result of how good you are at schmoozing with easily manipulated gateway staff. And like it’s possible to accurately assess an entire year of work over one interview. Heh.



Posted by Hmm on Mar 12, 2014

Dear Kathleen,

I happen to love complaint articles and this was not complainy. Darcy clearly was just saying Lau won on a dumb (opposite of smart) campaign that was more about his image than his actual vague campaign platform points as opposed to Adam Woods. In addition to complaint articles, I love complaint comments and yours was great! I’m sure you meant you don’t want to READ someone being negative for 90% of an article, unless you have a person reading this article to you! LOL! I hope you appreciate my opinion!

sincerely,
your old friend



Posted by IHateKathleen!6(1-5wastaken) on Mar 12, 2014

Sorry but being a good politician also means being a good marketer. Anyone could have the same posters if they just went to VCD and asked a design student or ask a business student to help with a campaign. This is just how things work. The students have voted. It might not be your choice but democracy has spoken



Posted by Student on Mar 13, 2014

I’d say most of the people who voted for Lau did not even know the platforms of the other two candidates. This was a popularity contest but seeing that politics in general is a popularity contest, I can’t say much. The most capable leader does not always win. I’m not saying Lau is not a capable leader, I’m saying MOST of the people who voted for him because they liked his smile, not because they preferred his platform over the others



Posted by Alex on Mar 14, 2014

So glad that Petros last year (coming as a VPX) was able to break through the trend of VPSL’s become SU Presidents. Looks like it’s back to the trend again…



Posted by Reminiscing UASUVote 2013 on Mar 14, 2014

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