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Putting the union in disunion

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We are just over a month into the fall semester. Complaints about the Student Union Society (SUS) are still coming in as per usual, like how what used to be the Canoe is still sitting empty. However, they don’t compare to the complaints about the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS). Recently the student body voted to impeach the SFSS president. There was talk of alleged racism and sexism, though the official reason for the impeachment was incompetency. I am left shell-shocked by this event.

A student society is meant to be by the students for the students. When the leaders of a student society begin to bicker and blame each other, much like grade schoolers in the principal’s office, how can they claim to be leaders? Before being impeached, the SFSS president had been gathering a petition to impeach five other board members for various reasons, everything from embezzlement to drinking alcohol in the SFSS office. Perhaps this was a last ditch effort to take a few others down before the president was voted out, or maybe it’s a sign of failure in the system.

A collective of students require more in their leaders than just friendly smiles and gracious high fives in the hallways. There needs to be a transparency between what goes on within the student society board and the students. Discovering through a school newspaper isn’t enough. Students should be able to have knowledge of any internal affairs that are relevant to them.

SFSS is a prime example of what happens when there is a lack of transparency. Students become unsure when they hear second-hand allegations about the higher ranks of their student society. I would describe the current predicament as a mess and that the students don’t know what’s going to happen next. Students are so confused by the entire situation that they choose to be ignorant.

Throughout the past month of overhearing the SFSS events, I have done some of my own reflection on our own SUS. There will always be ups and downs. The downs may lead to a change of leadership, but we need to remember the ups. Our SUS has made some unsavoury changes, like taking away club spaces, but they also hear our complaints and do their utmost to be amiable to said complaints. For example, I have seen the SUS executives come out to chat with random students and find out what our thoughts are about UFV as a whole and what we would need to help us succeed here.

A student society works best when there is communication between the student mass and its leaders. We made it clear that the campus connector needed to be improved and the next thing we know, it is improved. At times it seems like the SUS is ignoring what we say, but more often they are simply working as hard as they can to find a solution to any given problem as soon as possible.

So, how do we assure ourselves that the events of the SFSS never happen here at UFV? We keep the line of communication clear. We make frequent requests to get the information on what is happening in the SUS office. We stay united and be active students. Don’t let yourself become ignorant to the events at school. Stay informed and when voting season comes around, vote intelligently for the candidates and choices that will best continue the improvement of UFV on the whole.

Image: Megan Lambert/The Cascade

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