USC just looking for student opinion on darts

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: Plebiscite reaction reflects unconcern for student opinion
March 6, 2008

To the editor:
There is some clarification that needs to be expressed and frankly I’m surprised it came to this. Malcolm Aboud’s claim that the University Students’ Council should “avoid asking a question if it does not intend to listen to the answer” is a grossly exaggerated misconception.

First, a little background: the debate about cigarettes sold by the USC has been filling council chambers for the past several months. As a result of this debate, the question arose: for an issue as large-scale as this, shouldn’t a more accurate understanding of student opinions on the argument be known?

The USC felt a plebiscite question was the best course of action to get this understanding. The reason why a plebiscite was used rather than a legally-binding vote was that a legally-binding vote would be overturned for legal reasons. What this meant was if there was a serious threat to the stability and finances of the USC, the Board of Directors had the right to overturn a student vote to protect the security of the USC.

The USC felt this would not sit well with students and decided to go about it a different way. A plebiscite question was then chosen since it allowed for a strengthened argument as to what students believed on this issue and allowed the USC to work towards a solution that would be representative of its student body.

There is a lot of money involved, student jobs, pre-purchased cigarette supply, future stability and student event funding at stake in this issue. It is not something the USC can simply change overnight.

To sum up, the plebiscite was not a question the USC put forth with no intention to follow, but rather an attempt to get an accurate understanding of the students we represent, to move forward with their beliefs on this issue taken into consideration. The idea that we do not care about student opinions is an ignorant statement at best. If the USC truly didn’t care, there would have been no plebiscite in the first place.

This is in no way an official statement of the entire USC, but simply a concerned voice that feels this issue has gotten blown out of proportion.
"James East
USC Health Sciences
Kinesiology Councillor

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