Volume 94, Issue 66

Friday, January 19, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

USC = complexity

Editorial Cartoon

USC = complexity

At Wednesday's University Student Council meeting, the issue of whether or not USC vice-presidents should be voted directly by the student populace was raised.

The motion specifically requested a student referendum on the subject, which would ask students if they favoured an electoral process to be implemented in the winter 2002 USC president elections. The proposal would see undergraduate students directly elect USC vice-presidents, instead of the current system whereby VPs are elected by current USC members who have voting right. It was defeated by an overwhelming 46-4.

The USC has always been a strange marriage of government and corporation, as it presides over the undergraduate student populace, but is at the same time a money-making enterprise that must adhere to a bottom line. The USC's structure contains everything from presidents and vice-presidents, to councillors and senators.

Well, which is it? Politician or business people? The answer is both.

Although the VPs must answer to their constituents, the students, they must also answer to the shareholders, also the students.

Because of this, no student-wide election is necessary, since a student-wide election already takes place in the form of council elections within each faculty.

If we as constituents already trust the people we elect to make informed and unbiased decisions, does it not seem reasonable that we trust them to elect informed and unbiased people who represent them and us?

Yet, it is ludicrous for some councillors to contend, as they did Wednesday night, that students are not informed enough to make the correct decisions as it pertains to vice-presidential elections.

Oddly, these councillors seem to have forgotten that students were informed enough to make the correct decisions as they pertained to electing them.

Also, since their is no set by-law which dictates the interviewing process for VP candidates, can we assume our respectively elected councillors are doing an adequate job? Must we, as we have no other choice?

A better solution might be to strip the VPs of their voting rights. This would ensure the VPs remain loyal to their bottom-line demands, and eliminate any type of internal popularity contest. It would also not require the 30,000 students of Western (who already do not come out fully to vote) to be completely informed about the candidates' platforms and positions in each of the four vice-presidential spots.

Perhaps, if their voting rights were stripped, they too could be chosen on a similar basis to that of positions of communications officer and legal affairs officer. They would retain speaking rights and would be chosen by their peers, but would refrain from playing politics as much as they do now.

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