Volume 94, Issue 65

Thursday, January 18, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Listen up

Editorial Cartoon

Listen up

At last night's University Students' Council meeting, president Dave Braun gave a speech – a State of the Union address, if you will.

Braun's candid talk began by looking back on council's first eight months and remarked favourably on some of its achievements, including solidifying Orientation Week's status, blocking the Student Code of Conduct developments in Senate and creating a food bank, geared toward hungry, financially-strapped Western students.

He also asserted the effects the USC has on every student on campus, whether that person rides the bus, dines at the Spoke or Wave, attends Homecoming or reads The Gazette .

At that, Braun shifted his address by asking members of council to join him in a campus-wide "Listening Tour," aimed at bringing more of the, "detached, disaffected, disillusioned" students back into the USC fold and putting them at the top of council's priority list.

Though he deserves to be commended for speaking out, time may be running out for Dave Braun and council to turn around what has surely been one of the USC's most lacklustre years in recent memory.

Perhaps when the dust settles, councillors will agree with Senator-At-Large Luke Petrykowski, who has said all along the USC is out of touch with the interests of the common student.

In the past year, the USC has involved itself in immense political wranglings, but these issues have largely been internal in nature. Consider the series of election by-laws passed or the ridiculous, defeated motion to include a "None of the Above" clause on the ballots for vice-presidential candidates.

And that is where the problem with the 2000 council remains – their inability or unwillingness to represent their constituents – namely the students.

On the occasions when the USC has done something intended for students, they've bombed. Badly. Think Operation Massive or Homecoming or the I Mother Earth mixup.

The USC needs to go back to the students and ask them what they want. Gone are the days when council was allowed to hide behind an assumption of student apathy, so as to avoid listening to the student body's genuine concerns.

Braun, members of the board and councillors seem to look at student politics as a game – a $10 million game. It's politics for the sake of politics and that's the worst kind.

Council marginalizes people with creativity and an inherent interest to improve the lot for their fellow students in order to elect students who are interested in power, job titles and shaking hands.

There is a desperate need for Braun and his council to re-focus if they wish to end their term on a good note. It is possible for them to rejuvenate and with a new general manager and soon-to-be-elected president, the time is right. For now, we can only hope Braun will rally the troops and start listening.

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