Volume 95, Issue 23

Friday, October 12, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Finally, a taste of common sense

Editorial Cartoon

Finally, a taste of common sense

A noteworthy motion was brought forward at Wednesday's University Students' Council meeting, inspiring a lively debate that tugged at the very essence and ideological identity of the USC.

The motion sought to remove the requirement that USC VPs take a half class, paid for by the USC.

According to those supporting the initiative, council executives don't have the time to take classes and serve on council at the same time. VPs are extremely busy and should devote as much time as possible to council in order to best serve their constituents, they contended.

Furthermore, some said, The USC could save precious dollars if they did not have to foot the bill for courses many VPs end up failing.

Such arguments and the motion itself were defeated by a number of perceptive council members.

Those who argued against the motion rightly advised that council is run for students, by students.

While VPs could surely use a few extra hours each week, it is important they stay as connected to their constituents as possible. If they are completely removed from the day-to-day life of students, it is less likely they will be able to accurately assess the needs and wants of the average Western student.

Moreover, we must not lose sight of the reason we, as students, are attending university. At its core, university is an educational institution. Student politics, no matter how important some make them out to be, are an extra-curricular activity.

Much like a member of the Western football team must complete academic requirements in order to compete on the playing field, student politicians should put up with at least the odd lecture or seminar.

Arguably, the USC provides its own brand of education, but the last time we checked, how to shake hands, kiss babies and use words like "approachability" and "accessibility" was not included in any Western course's syllabus.

The details of the discussion aside, the debate in its entirety marked a breath of fresh air for council.

For once, financial concerns and self-interest were cast aside in favour of common sense and reality.

Student politicians are students first and politicians second and it is refreshing to see council has some grasp of this concept.

Councillors, many of them in their first-year as a member of council, gave proof that they realize the intricacies of their status as representatives of the student body.

To truly represent the student body, USC VPs must not let words like "corporation" and "financial obligation" elevate them to a plane higher than their constituents – a plane where they are "too busy" to be bogged down by a course, while their constituents struggle daily with 10 times that academic workload.

Cheers to those councillors who take to heart such a concept. Let's hope they don't lose sight of that over the next few months.

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