Volume 91, Issue 56

Thursday, January 8, 1998

El nino


Deadbeat councillors

Not long after Senator Andy Thompson was exposed to the Canadian public for having only attended 12 days of Senate since 1990, Western's University Students' Council has followed suit. In a meeting last night, the USC examined the attendance of four councillors who, although they had less to be embarrassed about than Thompson, still managed to be called to task by their peers.

And rightly so.

The four councillors had shabby records, one attending none of the eight meetings held this year and another only attending one.

When a student runs for a council position, they are running on the basis that they will represent their constituents well and make their voices heard. It is kind of hard to have a voice heard if no one is there to speak. USC wanna-bees should know what is expected of them before they throw their hats into election races.

Attendance at USC meetings, no matter how boring they may be at times, is one of the most important aspects of a councillor's job – representatives bring student concerns to the larger USC body and they take information from council back to their constituents.

This doesn't mean there aren't any exceptions. Serious reasons for missing a meeting should be accepted. And yes, school should come first as long as it is something that cannot be avoided. But the excuse of school work can only be used so often before other councillors who have full-course loads but manage to keep shining attendance records start questioning their peers. Council's move to judge each student on a case by case basis was a fair one, as every student has missed meetings due to different circumstances.

Missing most of the meetings says to constituents either the representative does not care about the job they have or they do not have time to do it. In both cases the councillor should accept that and resign instead of having council put through the embarrassment of attempting to remove them.

What would happen if council didn't expose the deadbeats? Others would slack off, knowing they wouldn't be reprimanded. Sitting on council is not just a resumé enhancer.

At the same time it was evident council may not be looking at attendance records close enough. One student remained on council for the last eight months after not attending a single meeting. This underrepresents his faculty and it is unacceptable it took so long to figure out this was going on.

Hats off to council for cutting the strings of a couple of deadbeats but the job was only done half well, two other councillors should have been removed as well. If a councillor is not in council, he or she might as well be walking a dog along the streets of Mexico.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998