Guidelines for election of head of student council

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Low Caliber
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Location: Wolfville, N.S.

Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby Low Caliber » Fri May 14, 2010 4:19 am UTC

I am currently engaged in trying to find a way to reform the way that my school allows people to run to be head/heads of student council.

A bit of background:
I am a council member in my last year at highschool and I and two of my friends who are the "co-presidents" of the student council realized that the process for the accepting of applicants to be allowed to run for the position of "co-presidents, or whatever they would like to call themselves" is flawed. As it now stands to be allowed to run you must get the signature of an administrator, a council member, and a council teach advisor. Unfortunately the administrators do not need to justify their reasons to anyone, talking to them they say that that the watch each other, but the fact is that they see each other every day, so who do you appease some random students who will be gone in a few years or someone you work with every day? One of my friends suggested that the administrators should file a report as to why they refuse someone each time they do so, but this was shot down as being a breach of privacy of the person who was refused.
It was then suggested that a refused candidate could bring in a friend to talk to the admin but this was also refused on the grounds that it is the parents choice whether anything could be revealed to an outside party.

Given that we are unable to find a way around this we figured it might be a better idea to create a framework as to what a candidate needs to have ie: having headed x number of projects, atleast a B average, and stuff like that. we are hoping this will stop the admin from stopping qualified candidates for personal reasons.

my question to the forumites is what you think would make a good set of guidelines that the admin would accept or alternately others ways to keep them accountable, or better yet, both!

Chen
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby Chen » Wed May 19, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

I don't think fixed qualifications are necessarily a good idea. I assume the administrator signature is to prevent trouble makers from getting into the race for council. Student council is not meant to be a full fledged democracy for the most part (at least not in high school).

I don't see what the issue is with the administrator having to justify their decision to disallow someone. I mean their justification would be given TO the student in question. It would be up to that student to decide whether or not to let people know the reason. I fail to see the inherent privacy problem there.

Is this an actual problem in your school or just a theoretical one? Have administrators been unfairly biased in rejecting people? Wouldn't that same unfairness be possible on the parts of the council members as well?

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LaserGuy
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby LaserGuy » Wed May 19, 2010 8:59 pm UTC

I sort of agree with Chen a bit here: if anything, requiring the signature from a sitting member of the council is probably more of a problem than needing one from the administration. The current council could effectively use such authority to anoint their own successors and keep everyone else out. Considering that the sitting members will likely be leaving the school anyway, it's hard for me to understand why they should really have any say, whereas the administration at least will still have to be there to deal with it, and, in my humble opinion, is probably far more likely to be unbiased about whether the students will be good candidates or not.

As a general rule, the administration is probably not going to go along with anything that will either 1) make more work for them (eg. filing reports) or 2) make things more disruptive to the learning experience (giving up their right to veto bad candidates). And honestly, the student council doesn't have the authority to change that.

Low Caliber
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Location: Wolfville, N.S.

Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby Low Caliber » Thu May 20, 2010 3:32 am UTC

I hadn't really thought about what a bad idea council member signatures being required is, but I will bring it up at the next meeting.

As for the the actual problem, one did in fact come up recently. The administrators decided to change the guidelines to remove a pair of candidates, due to an activity one of them participates in outside of school. The reason seemed rather odd, especially since the administrators have shown a dislike of said candidate before, and due to the fact that they changed the guidelines on the last day, and their were only two teams running, therefore the heads of council were appointed rather then elected. This was rather suspicious given that the candidates were removed only on the last day of the campaign, thus allowing no time for another pair to be allowed to join the race. Also the fact that one of the winning candidates is the daughter of a teacher at the school, and the niece of the head councilor/ex-vice principal.

As to the justification issue, the administrator whom most of this is going through has a tendency to change his story depending on who he is talking to, and is to be frank, a straight-up bastard. He is entirely against the idea of having a paper account of what he does, given that he would have to give the same justification to everyone.

Today in council we drafted an objective criteria, including stuff like needing a B average, having headed atleast x projects, and stuff like that, the most important being a thing stating that the criteria can't be changed after the first semester. It will never go through, and I have kind of given up on it, but the whole issue makes me livid. the fact that that administrator could believe that threatening a student could ever be an acceptable action is beyond me.

Alx_xlA
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby Alx_xlA » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:37 am UTC

I don't think any outside criteria is really a good idea. Optimally, I'd suggest that you use a system whereby a prospective candidate must collect a given number of signatures from the other students, and must demonstrate that they will be able to fulfill the duties required of them. Other than that, I say let the voters figure it out.
My signature contains forty-four characters.

Spen
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby Spen » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Announce at the start of the year that you are going to have an election for school council.
Produce a form with all of the candidates details, then have it be countersigned by one other pupil and one/ two members of staff.
Have a voting system where you put down their favourite choices in order (1 being favourite, 3 being the least favourite of the three they select), then have 1 point for a 3, 3 points for a 1 etc, however many people you need from that year group who have the most votes can go forward.
Then run an election from school council representatives to find the leader (only school council representatives get the vote here).
Announce to the council that you are running an election for leader and any other roles that'd be filled.
Have all candidates prepare a short 5 minute speech on the subject and they then leave the room.
People vote and you have your new leader.

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joy
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby joy » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:52 am UTC

Funny story: When I was campaigning to be student body president, my fellow candidates and I had to make speeches. We all picked famous political speeches and modified them slightly to be about high school. Imagine "4 score and 7 years ago..." and "we will fight them on the beaches..." :D

masher
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Re: Guidelines for election of head of student council

Postby masher » Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:40 am UTC

Spen wrote:Have a voting system where you put down their favourite choices in order (1 being favourite, 3 being the least favourite of the three they select), then have 1 point for a 3, 3 points for a 1 etc, however many people you need from that year group who have the most votes can go forward.


Or just give them the number of points equal to the choice order. The lowest score then goes forward. This also allows for easier extensions to multiple candidates.


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