Snowy BearURSU, for my last four years, has been a carnival sideshow of self-promotion and petty personal conflicts

Snowy Bear is not the president we need, but he’s the president we deserve.

Perhaps this endorsement would have been more relevant last year when Snowy was allowed to run for president, but he still embodies everything that has been wrong with URSU since I became a student here four years ago.

URSU is a joke. And not a particularly funny one either.

Since I started classes in 2009, I have seen my tuition increase by 26 per cent. Classes that I once paid $420 for have increase to $531. This is to say nothing of business and engineering students who have experienced increases many times greater than that in the last four years while URSU was wholeheartedly engaged in other pursuits.

What are those other pursuits? Well, one of the most impressive was the referendum to leave the Canadian Federation of Students in early 2010 that was a non-starter, and then the later embarrassing referendum in which a man in a fat suit tried to bribe students with candy into voting against continued CFS membership. This carnival of incompetence and surrealism cost students over $64,000 of their money from URSU alone, not to mention the money that the CFS gets from U of R students that was almost certainly used to buoy their support on campus.

Another lovely pursuit of URSU was the time wasted debating how Presidents Advisory Committee (PAC) funding was to be doled out. PAC was a program that was started to encourage student organizations to work together to create a fun, friendly, and inviting campus that morphed into another petty political sticking point between student representatives that simply can’t put their personal and political differences aside to work together.  

And to top it all off, URSU somehow managed to lose over $200,000 last year, a fact that would not have come to light so quickly if it hadn’t been for an embezzlement scandal for which responsibility has still not been taken. Don’t try to ask any questions about that, though. No one is talking.

In my experience, URSU has been packed with selfish, egotistical, petty, opportunistic, and inept individuals for the past four years. People more interested in resume padding than in student advocacy as more than a vehicle to get themselves ahead in life.

And ultimately, how can URSU be anything more than a joke when they can barely bring in seven per cent of students to vote for the president? How can turnout consistently remain around 20 per cent and not make URSU on some level a big organizational joke?

 I haven’t always seen eye to eye with Snowy Bear, but he was the right bear for the right time. His shenanigans drew attention to how hopelessly self-interested successful URSU candidates have been. His promises of bacon and toilet paper pointed out how meaningless the issues candidates champion really are. How nice or mean URSU should be to the administration and the government? Whether someone was being “too political” on URSU Twitter accounts? Issues that should be able to be resolved in an afternoon of adult discussion have been treated as major policy points, with the throwaway, necessary lip-service to helping students and dealing with tuition.

Snowy remains a giant parody of what URSU is – a silly sideshow of near-meaningless issues and shameless personal promotion. If this is the level of responsibility and competence that we can expect from the people who run to represent us, then we really do deserve a cartoon character as our president.

Snowy was banned from running on the grounds that it takes away from the seriousness of the elections and makes a joke out of the democratic process at this university. I think many people have already beaten him to the punch line.

Edward Dodd
Op-Ed Editor

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