Volume 91, Issue 38

Wednesday, November 5, 1997

Nip it in the bud


Consultation on representation

Re: Botched, Oct.23

To the Editor:

My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the USC or any of its members. You see, while I have written the occasional letter to The Gazette before, I've never really introduced myself. My name is Peter Ash and, among other things, I am a Social Science Councillor and Clubs Commissioner on the University Students' Council and I voted for the removal of Stuart Trier, the Saugeen-Maitland Hall Representative, from the USC.

In a recent editorial, The Gazette describes the process to remove Mr. Trier from the USC as "flawed." In this we are in complete agreement. In an attempt to help clean up some of the ambiguity over the issue, I have already drafted a few amendment proposals. I have also discussed the issue with other concerned members of Council and there is a great deal of consensus that the entire process needs a drastic overhaul. Hopefully, we will have better policies in place soon and I thank The Gazette for its valuable criticism in this area.

However, in the same editorial, The Gazette seems to imply that the Council members of the USC wish to hide behind secrecy and, as such, shirk their accountability as representatives of the students. This is a profoundly naive view and I wish to explain the perception as to why a secret ballot was used in the vote to remove Mr. Trier.

It is an extraordinary event to be asked to consider the removal of a member from Council. It is difficult to be objective at the best of times, worse when the victim of the alleged behavior of which Mr. Trier stood accused of was in the room. A secret ballot vote was used, in my opinion, so that every Council member could vote with his or her conscience and not feel pressured to add theirs to the forest of placards that would have inevitably accompanied one side of the vote. It can be somewhat intimidating when yours is one of only a few dissenting voices in a very large room. As such, I believe the secret ballot was used appropriately in this case.

That said, I personally stand by my decisions. I have stated that I voted to remove Mr. Trier and would not hesitate to do so again. If any of my constituents in Social Science wish to challenge my position, or seek to understand why I took the position that I did, I wholeheartedly encourage them to contact me through email. My address is: pash@julian.uwo.ca

However, the decision as to Mr. Trier's future as the Saugeen representative no longer rests in the hands of the people on Council. It is up to the residents of Saugeen to decide whether or not to keep him on as their representative. If a petition supporting the removal of Mr. Trier is brought to the USC bearing the names and student numbers of no less than 10 per cent of the current residents of Saugeen, the USC will be required to hold a referendum in Saugeen to decide whether or not Mr. Trier will stay or be removed. And perhaps this is the way it should have been done from the beginning.

Peter Ash
Honours Economics IV

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997