The AMS UN Debacle.
Once upon a time, in a land far away called UBC there lived three young students. Facing high debt and slim job prospects, they were opposed to any tuition increases. They knew that something had to be done. With their vast knowledge of politics and activism (as two held titles as student leaders), they went on a quest to seek counsel. With this wise council, they began to create a document of great power. This complaint was directed at some very important people indeed.
Now all of this would be lollipops and puppies had it not been for the big mean monster called Democratic Process. Now, Democratic Process had a henchman, Bureaucracy, and together they made things for these young lads very difficult. Instead of facing the two head-on, the three young students decided to sneak around them to get their way. For nine long months, the big mean monster and his crony were avoided….at least until they caught wind of the complaint.
What an uproar sprouted from the monster! Councillors from all the land assembled to see what was going on, and they were not please. You see, to them, the monster called Democratic Process was actually a friend, and those poor students fell folly to their own greed at getting something done, so much so that they completely forgot to tell Councillors about their actions and follow the Democratic Process.
One by one, Councillors asked Tim and Blake, as that were their names, to say they were sorry and to give up their titles. Meanwhile, the UN prepared.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
The bigger issue regarding this debacle is that of student apathy. Or rather, the complete lack of care around student government. Do not get me wrong here, this is prevalent in all levels of government, but when people do not care, then a vicious cycle occurs.
LET’S BREAK DOWN SOME KEY ISSUES HERE
On Apathy: Simply put, students do not care about things unless it affects them somehow. Students see things like the Great Farm Trek and lower athletic fees but do not see the countless hours of planning/effort that they require. It’s a sad fact, and can only be addressed if we focus on addressing three resulting issues:
1. Bad Leaders: Good person. Good intentions. Bad process.
2. Lack of trust: People have their own personal agendas
3. Further Divided Student Body: It’s a weird phenomena where people in the middle are pushed towards wither side of the political spectrum. I hate the term “crazy knolly”. It’s juvenile and creates separation in our university, but the very fact it exists means that there’s a fundamental problem within our student body. Yes, there will always be radicals, but they should NOT be put in a position of power. That means no crazies: no crazy lefties or righties. Call me naive here, but given a student population of 45,000, I am pretty sure we can find five level-headed individuals that can be elected as executives.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Increase student engagement: Not a simple task due to its cyclical nature. The questions remains, how and is it even possible?
1. Improve Leadership: It’s unfortunate but something has to be done. Whatever way this ends up going, let’s all hope that a signal has been sent that the AMS NEEDS effective leaders that can deal with conflict management and that do not have a personal agenda.
2. Improve culture: Culture starts with a huge focus on relationships: with the students, with council, with other execs, with the Administration, with the BoG , with the UNA, UEL, Translink, VANOC etc. etc.
3. Focus on Students: More FarmTrek, less “equity”. More Sprouts, less “representation”, more resource groups, less “matyr activism”.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!!!!
1. Run for a position
2. Apply to committees here
3. Read various blogs from all sides
4. Come to council meeting this WEDNESDAY at six, council chambers. The agenda is here.
5. Email me with any concerns (I’ve gotten a few already!) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your AMS Rep