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
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.