Candidate Shortage for Upcoming Elections: Possible Threat to the AUCSA Board’s Legitimacy

– By Beatrice Hillen

– In the upcoming AUCSA elections, only one candidate is running for the position of treasurer and secretary respectively, practically guaranteeing them the position. For the three Committee Affairs Officer positions, only four candidates are running. This candidate shortage is not new. AUCSA’s current treasurer, Willemijn de Hoop, was also the only one running for treasurer during last year’s elections. The shortage of candidates makes some AUC students question whether the elections are still representative and democratic.

Rijk Willers, third-year Social Sciences major, says that although the problem is not detrimental to the elections, the candidate shortage “will simply detract from the representativeness of the board.” Because of the lack of candidates, he adds, their ideas and policy are not challenged and scrutinized as much as they would have been if they had competition.

Marije Snippert, first-year Humanities major, agrees it can be a problem for the representativeness of the AUCSA board, as you don’t know if other people are better fit for the position.

On the other hand, Floor Kouwenberg, second-year Sciences major, says there is not much to do about the issue: “What can you do? Make people run who don’t want to? It is less democratic, but it is what it is.”

The Elections General Assembly will take place tomorrow evening, May 14. During the elections debate on Thursday, May 9, Julien Vandermosten, the treasurer-to-be, said, “I am sorry to see I am the only person running, I would have liked some competition.” He also added that he was open to any critique from the student body.

In the same debate, Maurits Jurgens, the secretary-to-be, said, “I really hope that this won’t disappoint your expectations of what a secretary should be like.” He added that he is also open to any critique, responses or feedback from the student body.

The shortage of candidates does not bother everyone. According to Carolina Janssen, second-year Social Sciences major, it does not pose any problem for the representativeness of the AUCSA, as “you can also abstain from voting or do a blank vote.”

Lora Hoogendijk, second-year Social Sciences major, does not mind the candidate shortage, and says she is already happy that there is someone who wants to run. “If you genuinely want to do this then you are already dedicated enough,” she said.

As to why other students are not running for the AUCSA, students respond that the job takes too much time. Another issue is a lack of communication with the AUCSA, which Martha Echevarría, second-year Humanities major, says she has experienced throughout the year. One of the reasons for this lack of contact is that she does not use Facebook much, the medium where most AUCSA related communication takes place.

Benedikt Rudischhauser, second-year Humanities major, agrees with Echevarría. “It seems like the AUCSA is too busy to talk,” he says.

Jet de Vries, one of the three candidates for next year’s presidency of the AUCSA, mentioned in her debate speech that the candidate shortage is evidence for the lack of participation by the student body, which is something the AUCSA needs to improve according to her. Whether the issue of the shortage of candidates will be tackled in the policy plan of the next AUCSA remains to be seen.

Photo by Beatrice Hillen

Editor’s note: This news story is part of a collaboration between The Herring and AUC’s journalism course. The story was entirely reported, written, edited, and fact checked by members of the journalism course. Some material may have been altered by The Herring’s editors to fit its style guidelines.

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Author: The Herring

The Independent Student Newspaper of Amsterdam University College (AUC), Updated Frequently. The Herring strives to be an objective and independent student newspaper that encourages engagement with the AUC community and the rest of Amsterdam, stimulates dialogue by offering an inclusive platform for students to express their opinions, and informs readers through extensive coverage of everything going on at and around AUC.

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