Volume 95, Issue 40

Tuesday, November 13, 2001
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Admission of guilt

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Admission of guilt

The Social Science Students' Council has run out of excuses.

As the controversy swirls around the SSSC for another day, the council's leadership continues to hide behind a veil of secrecy and confidentiality.

When first word of budgetary problems arose, the SSSC moved quickly to bury all details in confidential meetings. Then, after the story began to leak, the SSSC scrambled into an emergency meeting on Sunday night – again held in confidential session.

Their reasoning was simple, but endlessly flawed.

Confidential meetings were necessary, they argued, to ensure the council and its members were free of legal repercussions and would not be subject to Canada's slander laws should council members defame any individual.

The source for this information – the hallowed Robert's Rules of Order. A book made famous by hundreds of high school students' councils across the country. A "meetings for dummies," if you will.

Had the council's leaders, namely president Duane Baxter and speaker Kevin Atcheson, bothered to consult a lawyer on the issue, they would have learned that moving a council meeting into confidential does not necessarily free any member of that council from slander litigation and, as long as they stuck to factual arguments, the threat of unjustified defamation was minimal.

In light of such information, it seems only two possible conclusions exist.

In the first scenario, the SSSC's leadership is poorly researched and lacks the requisite knowledge to lead a group of elected representatives.

In the second scenario, the SSSC's claims of "legal considerations" are merely a ploy to hide the gory details from a student body who deserves to know where their money has been spent.

In either case, the SSSC has proven itself to be failing in many regards.

So now, less than a week after details of the $7,400 in unpaid bills were first learned, where do students and the SSSC stand?

The SSSC continued actions seem motivated by ignorance or selfishness. These elected representatives continue to argue and bicker amongst each other, keeping details from their constituents and scrambling to understand how the governing process works.

The student body knows very little. A number of unauthorized Orientation week activities have resulted in thousands of dollars of unpaid bills, which, it seems, the SSSC cannot cover.

No course of resolution has been revealed and the student body has yet to be told what will be done to prevent future transgressions.

Meanwhile, your elected representatives run around in circles, blaming everyone but themselves and desperately grasping for answers.

The ineptitude and lack of leadership shown by the SSSC is staggering and the blame must, once again, fall on its leaders.

No more excuses, no more passing the buck. It is time to admit your guilt and admit your mistakes.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001