Volume 92, Issue 90

Thursday, March 18, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

Behind closed doors

Editorial Cartoon

Behind closed doors

A student politician's life is pretty tough. You have to represent students and act in their best interests. This is the idea behind the existence of the University Students' Council.

Last night's USC meeting gave the impression this is an ideology, not a practice.

Warren Tilston, the USC's communication officer, resigned – citing "philosophical differences" as one of his reasons. Councillors followed his short speech with a loud round of applause as he was leaving the room.

Why this resignation drew applause is what is disturbing.

Tilston's prepared resignation speech only gave very vague reasons for his resignation and he failed to explain to councillors what caused his decision when the year is so close to conclusion. There probably is a good reason for his departure, although it was not expressed to councillors who should have booed Tilston out of the room for not doing so.

Granted, they may have been applauding the work he has done this year but he most definitely did not leave on a note which he or the USC should be proud of. There was a room full of people last night who are supposed to be representing every undergraduate student at this university and apparently, none of them were too alarmed.

Tilston said afterwards most of his differences with the USC board of directors stem from confidentiality of information and he would not elaborate because he has been bound to that same confidentiality.

Here's a student politician who has resigned because he can't let the students he is representing know what is going on in the USC. There is something seriously wrong when students are not allowed to know what is going on with their money.

Maybe Tilston's resignation was in protest of what was going on – but it is a pretty ineffective protest if he does not explain why. It appears, however, Tilston may not be able to divulge what he is protesting.

So it becomes more of a question of why the USC is not letting students know what is going on. If everything is in tip-top shape then there is nothing to hide. If something is going on in the USC which needs to be concealed from students, it most likely isn't something good.

This is the impression Tilston's resignation gives and USC councillors should be acting on behalf of their constituents to find out if there is something going on behind closed doors which shouldn't be.

It's time for the USC board of directors to be accountable to those they represent and answer a simple question: Why did Tilston submit his resignation to councillors last night?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999