Those Non Elected members of the Union who represent US
The “election” atmosphere is back at UoM. Some of us participate in these because of friends, others just don’t care about it but the one who are the more easily engrossed are first year students. This is thanks to older executive members of the union and those close to them who manipulate newcomers. My friends and I found out another reason why some other witty persons get involved in elections.
Who are those people you probably never voted for and you even probably never heard of, who regularly speak in your name and represent you on committees!??
Those nobodies, who gravitate around the elected team in search of bits and pieces of power, of popularity, attention or more rarely of a possibility to improve university life are sometimes friends, members of the campaign team, or simply girl/boyfriends of the elected members. Delegated by the president by virtue of his “discretionary powers” to represent us, members, and defend our interests on various committees such as the Appeals Committee, the Disciplinary Committee or the Sports Committee, those students, simple members of the union as we are, enjoy the privilege of speaking out the will of the majority without having been chosen by us to do so and of being, in some still ambiguous circumstances, remunerated in amounts that are of course made and kept obscure by the elected team and the administration.
If you want power at the level of the union and want to be remunerated for it what’s simpler than that will you ask!? Why bother to be candidate at elections and to suffer criticism and the flaws of popularity when you can simply stick around the elected team and enjoy those “side benefits”!? I guess that’s why there are so many people campaigning around during election times and defending their candidates as if they were fighting for themselves.
Mind you I m not saying that those people are not doing their best to do their delegated job, it would be highly pretentious of me to make such allegations. My point is simply that, in a so called democratic union, there cannot be a few whom we haven’t chosen to represent us.
And the worse in all that is not that this situation has been going on ever since the union was created in the 1970`s but that it is perfectly legal as prescribed by the section 7(4) of the union’s Constitution which gives the power to the executive committee to appoint whoever it wants to represent it. The problem definitely comes from the constitution which has not been subject to any modification ever since it was first issued in September 1971 and which enshrines blatant infringement to the rule of the majority’s will.
The argument of the actual executive committee to explain such provisions is a lack of logistics to fulfill the various tasks. It would be dim-witted to question such lack of resources, being aware of the context but it could easily be solved by a proposition that would require no additional resources an instead allow us to see and choose as early as from the time of elections, had they had the will give up that power to select and put their people on those committees.
If at the time at which the parties are coming up with a team and going around classes to present their candidates they could just present us the members they intend to put on those committees the voters would then be able to evaluate the worth of the candidates, knowing that voting for a particular team would be equivalent to supporting particular members on the committees. This would also allow more consistency in the way in which we are represented as I have no doubts on the fact that the policies adopted vary drastically with the identity of the individuals sent in those meetings according to the whims of our executive committee. Of course such a measure would have to be integrated to the requirements of the electoral list in the union’s constitution and would be an easy way to ensure more transparency.
A couple of friends and I intend to come up in the near future with a proposition of amendment to the union’s constitution in that sense and petitions will be circulated around the campus in that respect. For the amendment to be considered we would need the agreement of at least 20 ordinary members of the union by way of a petition.
We intend to get more than that as I am sure that those of you have understood that tomorrow any of you can be tried on the Disciplinary board for whatever offence and be represented by some freak designated on that day by the executive committee to assist, you will be more than happy to join us in that fight for a change in OUR constitution.
The next step would then be to request a General Meeting of the union and get support from a majority of more than two third of ordinary members present, which is easily achievable and to get the Senate’s approval. This may seem more controversial since they have a right to review amendments but I can’t think of any decent reason why they would oppose more transparency especially if it is requested by a large number of members.
We cross fingers and welcome any comments, defamation allegations or further proposition.