Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Twenty-five per cent sincere

Twenty-five per cent sincere

Regardless of how you read the events of Wednesday's University Students' Council meeting, you've got to admit it raises some pretty interesting questions about the dynamic which exists between the Board of Directors and the rest of the Students' Council.

A tabled motion which proposed the USC publicly apologize to students for failing to adequately inform them of a $3.60 administrative fee deducted from their opt-out cheques, was passed overwhelmingly, with the USC voting 38-14 in favour.

However, of the four voting members on the Board of Directors, only VP-finance Derrick Taub voted in favour of the apology. This indicates an interesting disparity between the Board and the remaining council members. More importantly, it raises some serious questions about the Board's ability to accurately represent the needs of the student body.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this entire ordeal was the fact it was the VP-finance who opposed the remaining Board members in the vote. As VP-finance, Taub should be considered the student authority on this fee. His position has put him at the centre of this issue from the beginning and the fact he knowingly sided against the other Board members in favour of an apology, is enough to make one wonder exactly what the other three were thinking and what motivated their decisions.

Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues, said he voted against the motion because he believed the USC had already provided ample explanation of the fee and therefore didn't owe students an apology. Unfortunately, the simple fact of the matter is that explanation or not, students do feel slighted by the fee – a sentiment echoed by the 37 councillors who voted in favour of the motion.

It's disheartening to think the Board didn't value the student concern enough to treat the issue with more sensitivity. After all, isn't the Board's primary focus supposed to be the student's concerns? Is a simple justification of what many deem to be an extraneous fee an appropriate way to address such a touchy topic?

It's hard to rationalize the disparity between the Board and the councillors without some sort of explanation – perhaps pride played a role in last night's proceedings. While it's commendable the Board is comprised of people with enough gumption to stick to their original decisions, it's also important they keep their ears low enough to the ground to be able to gauge how the students are feeling.

Sometimes you have to stick to your guns, but it's also important to be able to say you're sorry every now and then. After all, what will this apology really mean when 75 per cent of the Board doesn't really stand behind it?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999