Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ignorance Is Bliss: Ulster Young Unionists attack 'The Gown'




A recent article on the Ulster Young Unionist Website suggests:

The Gown's attitude to student democracy worries me, as I believe that the end result is not in the interest of the student population...(The Gown)seems to demonstrate a policy of perpetuating such apathy, and not attempting to remedy it.

The article shows complete ignorance of 'The Gown's' half century contribution to student life at Queen's. The paper has always been at the forefront of promoting accountability, justice and student participation. Is voter 'apathy' something members of the UUP should really give lectures on?

12 Comments:

Anonymous Joe Mangel said...

Who are the Utterlessly Useless Party to give lectures to anyone? You Gown people mustn't be 'decent' enough for them!

3/02/2006 8:14 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

Reducing the size of the SRC is a bad idea, it would result in people who could have contributed usefully to the Union not making it in the door. The current nature of the council does mean that anyone who wants on, basically can get on. But given that most people don't want on, can we afford to start turning away the few that do?

2nd March 2006 at 21:45 - David Cather agrees with Michael Shilliday, mark it down.

3/02/2006 9:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But given that most people don't want on, can we afford to start turning away the few that do?

---------------------

When over 3 quarters of the elected members of council don't turn up two months in a row meaning that no meeting can take place, then there is something wrong. Incidentally on one of these occasions absent COuncil members included UUP and DUP members who were present in the Students' Union at the time of the meeting but didn't bother going to the actual room of the meeting.

PS

3/04/2006 12:26 am  
Anonymous Joe Mangel said...

Was the last inquorate Council meeting not during the postal strike, and so members got no written confirmation of it, as they usually would? Surely it wouldn't have been too hard for the Students' Union to e-mail members with the details.

3/04/2006 10:40 am  
Anonymous David Cather said...

They are emailed.

3/04/2006 11:16 pm  
Anonymous Joe Mangel said...

Anyone I know on Council was complaining for that meeting that they didn't receive an e-mail, which led to, I heard, SRC members arriving late because there was confusion concerning the time of the meeting. I also heard for the same meeting, there were nationalist members of Council in the Students' Union building, but didn't bother to turn up so I don't think Unionists alone are to blame.

3/05/2006 1:26 pm  
Blogger David said...

Hmm I hate meetings that dont make quorm especially when council members are inside the union. Grr I am just bitter about my poker society

3/07/2006 5:38 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

That Poker Society was just a way for you to seperate first years from their student loans.

3/08/2006 10:55 am  
Blogger David said...

No no David it was more than that it was about the beauty ..... ah why bother no ones going to believe me anyway.

3/09/2006 2:40 am  
Anonymous the sulk said...

In response to David Cather and Michael Shilliday

On 3/2/2006 David Cather wrote:

'Reducing the size of the SRC is a bad idea..'


No David and Michael it is a good idea...

By reducing the number of SRC seats we could create a SRC that commands acknowledgment of its authority from a/the student body b/the university and c/the union itself... and prevent a SRC that is peripheralised to the point that it is outcast to the bloody snack bar with councillors having to make do with miserable plastic seats. How professional?! It is not good enough.

Is that a body which is taken seriously? The answer is a resounding NO.

Unfortunately, the SRC is a seen as a joke. It should not be. But the current system is fundamentally undermining its ability to be taken seriously.

Michael Shilliday talks about how the SRC plays an important role. In the Gown I acknowledged this of course.

The aim of my article was to point out a corrosive factor in QUB student politics that overarches grass roots student representation at Queen's.

It was not to criticise the theoretical or practical role of the SRC. Providing scrutiny over the executive is an important function of SRC to name many.

Maybe we could cut down the number of seats, thus cutting out the ‘paper’ councillors who don't even bother turning up, and creating a council body which has a core of dedicated individuals fighting for the rights of students

I am all in favour of retaining a democratic student government system. By reducing the number of SRC seats I do not attempt to undermine student democracy. In fact my intentions are the complete opposite.

My point was that, in its current form, membership of the council is anything but democratic.

No free and fair elections = no democratic ethos at all. It is that simple. That is not a contentious statement.

In recent years elections for the SRC have failed to materialise, as I stated in the Gown, and the whole process has become stagnated.

Given that the SRC consistently fails to fill its seats the subsequent outcome is inherently corrupt. By consistently having a surplus of seats to demand, leading to no elections at all, the SRC is undoubtedly without a clear mandate and considering that- is simply undemocratic

Having no elections creates no accountability to an electorate and a dangerous situation which is exacerbated by the pathetic party political drivel that nullifies the SRC ability to represent ALL the student body.

How can an institution claim to represent students when students do not knowingly endorse it?

Let us be clear here.... there really is a need for change. The electoral system, or lack thereof, is undermining the SRC ability to be representative of NORMAL students and has resulted in alienating the SRC from its core responsibility- to represent and be representative of students

So Michael and David…. Do you honestly support a 'representative' institution of governance that claims to be democratic but yet is unelected?!!

Surely not- considering that open, free and fair elections are a prerequisite to any democracy.

3/11/2006 3:09 am  
Anonymous David Cather said...

I have twice had to fight elections in order to get myself onto the SRC. I understand that this year there were very few/no elections. But in general most years there are a substantial number of elections.

The SRC is far from ideal, but as I have pointed out elsewhere it's biggest problem is the severe lack of quality in the business that is brought before it, not the manner in which it is elected.

3/13/2006 12:55 pm  
Blogger the sulk said...

'I have twice had to fight elections in order to get myself onto the SRC'....

Sorry David but you say that as though it was some sort of an inconvenience to you. You should be made to fight an election every time you stand to the SRC.

'it's biggest problem is the severe lack of quality in the business that is brought before it, not the manner in which it is elected'.....

Can you not see that the two are inextricably linked? Business put before council is poor- that is because council is not respected and/or taken seriously by the statutory bodies and regulations that govern over it- which is a result of student apathy and the SRC having no clear mandate from students.

The institutions do not want the SRC to have the ability to exert any considerable form of power, after years as a councillor do you not realise this? The only role that the university desires the SRC to play is a cosmetic one.

If council had a undeniable mandate from students, i.e. decent turnout at SRC elections (or a turnout at all, for that matter), then it would be taken more seriously and thus the call for better quality business would be strengthened, because the SRC would demand it. Do you not see it is up to the council to demand better business before it- not complain.......and it will only be able to demand it if it has enough support from students

3/15/2006 12:15 pm  

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