Changes in CIUT’s electoral process are long overdue

“Re: Campus radio station faces criticism for ‘undemocratic’ elections process”
CIUT broadcasts from inside Hart House at UTSG.
CIUT broadcasts from inside Hart House at UTSG. SOFIA LUDWIG/THE VARSITY

According to two of its former Board of Directors members, Anne Boucher and Stuart Norton, U of T radio station CIUT 89.5 has an undemocratic executive electoral process and the most recent CIUT election was conducted hastily. CIUT President Steve Fruitman reportedly asked the room who wanted the executive positions, and candidates appear to have been chosen with little chance given for others to challenge them.

Fruitman, who has been with CIUT since 1988, has stated that the station has been electing executives this way since he began there. However, it is apparent from reading about the electoral process alone that this method lacks transparency and structure and therefore warrants reform.

Electing members as executives based on whoever sticks their hand up first is strange; winners’ ability to handle the responsibilities assigned to them must first be properly gauged. 

At present, only board members can vote for and elect other executives. But university students cannot run to be an executive — let alone receive notice of CIUT meetings, attend meetings, or vote in the elections — unless they have paid a general membership fee of $89.50. This price seems steep; comparatively, the UTSU’s insurance plan costs less. Moreover, the general membership fee is in addition to the levy fee full-time undergraduate students already pay to CIUT.

This levy — $3.75 for UTSG students and $0.50 for UTM and UTSC respectively — constituted 59 per cent of the CIUT’s revenue last year. Having to pay an additional membership fee to attend meetings and participate in the electoral process seems unfair, and it seemingly alienates the very audience that Fruitman said forms the CIUT’s “lifeline.”

CIUT’s electoral process is at least 30 years old. Perhaps it is time for its election structure to change.

Zeahaa Rehman is a third-year student at UTM studying Linguistics and Professional Writing.

Editor’s Note (March 9): A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Boucher and Norton as board members of CIUT. They are in fact former board members. 

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