Editorial

Sometimes “pissing off” UFV is a good thing

The dangerous thing about running a student society on a campus that’s known for having a hard time getting its students engaged in its student societies, is that with an uninterested membership, there’s not much that can’t be done.

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The dangerous thing about running a student society on a campus that’s known for having a hard time getting its students engaged in its student societies, is that with an uninterested membership, there’s not much that can’t be done. The Cascade could choose to run only comics about cats and the Student Union Society (SUS) could choose to buddy up with UFV instead of advocating for students, and although people might care, unless enough of the student body actually banded together to do something about it, the societies could get away with pretty much anything — and with students’ funds supporting them.

So, when you are one of the minority of students who pays attention to what their societies are doing, and you’ve also figured out that letting a group of students manage a $6-million company (is SUS’ case) could lead to a pretty disastrous end, you make sure that you vote for someone you trust, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. At least that’s what I did in the last SUS annual election.

Over the past term, SUS has done some pretty cool things, let a few pretty cool things slip by, and is still working on some pretty cool things that I really hope will happen. One of those is the implementation of free condom and feminine hygiene product dispensers in the Student Union Building (SUB), and a few other spots around UFV.

***The Cascade published an article last week about how the promised dispensers have not yet been installed, although students were told they could expect them in November following an incident where a student was found poking holes in the free condoms supplied in a public washroom in the SUB. The whole thing was a big cloudy mess over who was going to pay for them, which is why they’re still not here.

The article included a quote from SUS president Sukhi Brar that said: “This [UFV offering to pay for the dispensers] was because of all the media attention. What pisses me off, again, and I had been wary of it then too is it’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s partner,’ and so when ***Abby News was contacting, when people were contacting it’s like ‘We’re partnering with SUS to do this thing.’”

It’s not hard to tell that this quote wasn’t exactly planned or carefully thought out, but likely came from a place of frustration and candidness. It’s safe to assume that the publication of this quote spurred a few negative reactions, but, the thing is, this is the first time this year that I have ever felt like SUS, a society that I as a student am paying to represent and advocate for me as a student, is actually doing this.

Student politics usually tend to attract the “involved in everything” type of students that are looking for more things to fill out their already shining resumes, and not necessarily the ones that really want to make a change, and that’s the problem. When you’re running an organization — a position that the students you’re representing have elected you to be in — your alliance should be with those same students. Your top priority and main goal should be what’s best for students, and I would expect that occasionally that would include saying things that UFV might not necessarily want to hear — or might not want students to hear — but that need to be said.

I know this puts SUS in a bit of an awkward position; it’s always hard to coexist with an institution where tension exists, especially when there are relationships that quotes like this could hurt. But if our Student Union is more worried about causing conflict between themselves and university administration or ruining personal friendships in the institution that they’ve established more than they are worried about letting an important service to students not be offered, then they’re not doing their job. I get that conflict is uncomfortable, but isn’t that what you would expect from joining student politics, especially a union which solely exists to protect and advocate for its membership?

While it may have come as a shock to many that our SUS president admitted to being “pissed off” with UFV, it should be more of a shock to learn that she hasn’t been all along. After all, I voted for her to question the university and be a voice for students, not befriend the university. I’m proud to see that is exactly what she is finally doing.

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