In the next couple of weeks, students on this fair campus will be inundated with one message: vote in the Students' Union General Elections. "It's important," the rhetoric will go. "It's your democratic responsibility, your right to bitch."
Less than 20 per cent of students will listen.
As for the other 80 per cent, I can only think of one good reason for not voting: priorities.
The first and most important reason students come to a post-secondary institution is to learn. While it would be nice to see all students take an interest in the people representing them to administration and the provincial and federal governments, not everyone cares. It's a sad fact, but it's still a fact. Someone knee-deep in critical theory, amino acids or the origins of the universe may not pay attention to student politics because that's not why they're here.
How many students say they chose the U of C for its SU? Students came here for an education, and became an SU member as an immediate result of that choice. It's impossible to fault a student who puts academics before student politics. We don't get degrees for voting in elections. We get degrees by going to class, writing papers and taking final exams.
The two options, however, are by no means mutually exclusive. It's still a good idea to take an interest in the body that collects student fees, runs many student programs, helps with academic appeals, and represents students on important issues like tuition. Focusing on academics isn't a bad way to spend a university career, but important stuff does happen outside the academic arena.
So, if you're interested, go to the candidate forums, read the platforms, question the candidates, and make an informed choice. Heck, I'd encourage you to run, if the nomination deadline hadn't already passed. But if you don't care, then at least be uninterested for a good reason--that you're happily mired in that strange entity we call academia.