USC's political activism
By Chris Webden
The University Students' Council's perceived lack of involvement in student
activism on campus has been called into question in light of a recent
Councillors spent several days examining USC policies and procedures at
the USC member retreat held early in December, and subsequently created
a document outlining their findings for the Board of Directors. At last
week's USC meeting.
USC President Chris Sinal, gave a presentation outlining the Board's response
to the report, but some of the council's suggestions were not addressed,
notably, the section of the report stating that the USC should take a
more proactive approach concerning pertinent student issues such as tuition
"[Councillors] felt that the USC should be taking more of a stance
on issues and doing demonstrations to show students' disagreement with
any faculty and administrative decisions that they deem unfair,"
the report stated.
"Emphasis [on these issues] needs to come from the students themselves,"
said Mike Heilandt, a King's College councillor and one of the members
responsible for the proposed initiative.
According to Sinal, organizing a student protest is similar to organizing
a group of troops to go to war.
"My and the Board's belief is that protests and a lot of the things
we associate with activism are valuable tools that students have at their
disposal, but they cannot be used lightly," Sinal explained.
"[The Board] has been very fortunate to accomplish a lot without
having to resort to protest," Sinal said, adding a lot of what the
USC accomplishes takes place behind closed doors, where it is difficult
for students to notice.
In contrast to the USC, the Society of Graduate Students has taken an
active role in organizing protests and demonstrations in London.
"Student mobilization is important for raising public awareness and
getting media coverage and those things are really important for
the progression of change," said Sarah McCarter, VP-external for
"Despite the philosophical differences between SOGS and the USC,
these are common issues that we all need to be working together to resolve,"
McCarter said, noting that, through the inclusion of several groups in
the Western community, SOGS has organized demonstrations where both graduate
and undergraduate students were represented.
"A lot of people say that Western students don't care about these
issues and that the USC caters to this, but that relationship can work
the other way as well," said Kamilla Pietrzyk, a second-year media,
information and technoculture student and member of OXFAM.
Sinal vs. Guevara
Revolutionary actions: Once took "a block from
the middle and put it on top" during an intense battle of Jenga.
In addition, recently, during a schmooze-laden lunch with MP Dianne
Cunningham, Sinal is rumoured to have told her he didn't like the
colour of her shoes, before resuming his usual routine of back-flips,
ventriloquism and flattery.
Notable companions: Wannabe presidential successors
who buzz around him like a swarm of ass-kissing bees on a mound of
Image: Sinal looks like a cross between Fozzy the
Bear and Willy Wonka.
actions: Guerrilla officer in the 1956 Cuban revolution
also a major player in attempted communist revolutions in
other Latin America and African nations.
Notable companions: Fidel Castro, president of
post-revolutionary Cuba. Guevara played his second-hand man in the
Cuban government during the years following the revolution.
Image: Dark, brooding, eyes, a kick-ass beret and
a beard that says "Let's all be politically active, embrace
communism, and maybe destroy some capitalistic bastards at the same