Volume 95, Issue 75

Thursday, February 14, 2002
 
Search the Archives:
Tips for searching

News
Editorial
Opinions
Entertainment
Campus and Culture
Sports
Submit Letter
Contact Us
About the Gazette
Archives


OPINIONS

The real reason no one likes the U.S.

Listen up all you meatheads

Today's forecast calls for naked running girls

Tonnes of heart

Cute dogma!

What's a USC without a council?

What's a USC without a council?

The following is part two of a three part series discussing the current state of student government at Western.



By Aaron Wherry

Editor-in-Chief



Ever wonder what your University Students' Council representatives do after you (or at least a few of you) have voted them into office.

Here are their job descriptions, straight from the USC's constitution:

All councillors must sit on at least one USC committee, make a "conscientious effort" to attend all council meetings, attend at least one Senate and one Board of Governors meeting and make four in-class presentations.

In total, about 25 meetings all year. (Mind you, a large number of committees meet rarely, if ever and few, if any, councillors who don't already sit on Senate or BOG ever bother to attend a meeting of either.)

Assume each of those meetings lasts about two hours. That's 50 hours, at the absolute most, required to perform the constitutional duties of your average USC councillor.

Mind you, the constitution isn't the problem.

While a bad year on the third floor is often blamed on the president or a vice-president, the widest problem within the USC exists on the council level.

What was once an active, aggressive council has become nothing more than a glee club of political geeks who meet every two weeks to tell jokes and inflate egos.

Councillor-driven initiatives are largely restricted to pubs and other faculty and residence social gatherings.

Sure, maybe the kids are a little trigger shy ever since that Massive thing, but few can even summon the energy to question the USC. If nothing else, council should act as executive watchdog, checking up on the day-to-day business of the USC. Sadly, this watchdog long ago fell asleep.

Exceptions do exist. Several members of council do periodically rise in a bi-weekly snooze fest to voice an articulate opinion or propose a somewhat worthwhile initiative.

Mind you, 90 per cent of these councillors are posturing for future elections, leaving a measly 10 per cent of an already vast minority who actually care and do something about it.

In other words, the current council accomplishes little, proposes less and those who do seek innovation are largely doing so for personal gain.

Change is simple. Those who care (all four of five of you) must start pushing for new ideas and new ways of serving students and generating interest in the USC and student life in general. Debate in council, even in defeating a motion, is still healthier than no discussion at all.

Committees must become relevant. Committee members must take their jobs seriously and those committees who do not meet should be folded.

Councillors must become visible members of the community, approaching average students, meeting with faculty and residence councils – actually interacting with the constituents they so often claim to consult.

Hanging out at the USC Front (itself a good idea) does not fulfill this requirement.

The USC's current state of top-down organization has led to stagnancy and laziness. While board members and commissioners toil away, the democratically-elected councillors pads their respective résumés.

Why don't students care about the USC? Because the councillors don't care about the students.




To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 2002