Something to hide from students?
Re: USC second opinion, Oct. 16
To the Editor:
It seems our first letter has been misunderstood by some. We were not trying to paint a bad picture of the current members or employees of the USC. We weren't trying to suggest that the current USC executive are in any way inept, or that they are purposefully trying to avoid representing Western students. We weren't, as Mr. Ash suggested, trying to "slam them."
Chris Walsh, a member of the executive from last year was quoted in The Gazette as saying, "No matter what your intentions are the external stuff is time consuming." Our group believes that this is so. Sure the executive from this year are approachable and we know they are willing to lend an ear.
What we were saying, Mr. Ash, was that the USC has become more of a corporation than a student government. The USC, as a corporation, offers excellent services. We know like every other student, we use them. Unfortunately, the running of the 'corporation' has become the main thrust of the USC. We've found this leaves a void in the area of student representation.
The picture you painted of the main office of the USC is a good one. We weren't referring to any difficulty in speaking with the executive. The 15 or so staff you mentioned in you letter is not what we were talking about specifically. By looking at a flow chart of all USC personnel, you can see the USC extends well beyond its front office staff. With 23 branches and numerous people working in those branches, the total number of individuals on the USC is much larger than the 15 mentioned in Mr. Ash's letter. We don't believe over-consultation should be an excuse for inactivity.
Why is it executives from various clubs have come forward to us complaining of problems with the bureaucracy they've had to deal with when it comes to the USC? Why is it that people have gone to the USC looking for support for a great idea, only to find that the administration is the only body willing to offer assistance? There are even rumblings within the faculty indicating that the USC all but ignores suggested policies put forth by bodies lower in the hierarchy than the Board of Governors. Why is it that the USC only fights the administration when these ideas finally reach the Board and become an unstoppable reality?
Interestingly, you answer your own question in regards to the closed-door sessions held by the USC. The occasional confidentiality which you mentioned is exactly what we were talking about. What are these legal issues that you discuss? Why can't the general student population hear about them? We know for a fact that students were kicked out of a budgetary meeting last year when it was moved into confidential. What was being discussed? Salaries? Even the House of Commons does not hold sessions in confidence.
These 'confidential' meetings completely remove any traces of accountability for the members of the council if their position is so unpopular, either they shouldn't take it, or they should defend it publicly.
The Student Interest Association