March 10, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 83  

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EDITORIAL

USC motion a welcome change

Every year the University Students’ Council takes our student fees and in return provides us with a wide array of programming, services and the usual slew of political muck.

With debates that never seem to end and oft-repeated arguments that some USC councillors blindly deem worth repeating, life in the council chambers is often like a circus, though this time the animals can speak.

Equally distressing are councillors who choose to only represent narrow interests, thereby neglecting the majority of the student electorate. Councillors who express themselves concisely, passionately and with the interests of all students in mind should be the only ones fit to handle our hard-earned dollars.

Naturally, conflicting interests must be weighed against one another and should be welcomed as part of debate, but ultimately a USC decision should acknowledge the principles and values espoused by a majority of students. So-called “special interests” must be considered, but they should never take the place of “student interests.”

Which is why tonight’s USC motion to change the composition of council is a welcome change. Eliminating the voting privileges of residence and off campus councillors, senators, the Board of Governors representatives and the four USC VPs eliminates the presence of special interests.

The direction of the USC should be entrusted to the popularly-elected president and his or her councillors who, as the motion proposes, should only be elected according to their faculty.

The current formula for determining how many councillors a faculty is entitled to states there is one councillor for every 600 students. The motion would reduce that number to 500, as to maintain the current size of voting seats on council since previous voting positions would be lost.

The number of councillors is arbitrary at best, hopelessly bureaucratic at worst. If anything, the number of councillors should be less, but still enough to encourage sufficient debate.

But responding to and addressing the needs of all students, including those who live in residence or are in first year, should remain a top priority for faculty councillors. What the motion fails to accomplish is accurate and accountable representation of the many different stakeholders on campus.

This motion should be passed, though there must be structural efforts to link interest groups on campus with one or more councillors. One way to achieve this is by having a councillor voluntarily choose to sit in on different councils, committees or clubs and hear what concerned students (be they in residence, upper-year or bald) have to say.

The motion should be passed, but there are still other ways to improve representation.

 

 

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