Commentary  Scuttling of ArtSci Council seat scandalous

On Thursday SSMU council declined to pass a motion that would have put to referendum the question of whether Interfaculty of Arts & Science students, through the Bachelor of Arts & Science Integrative Coucil (BASiC), should get a seat at SSMU Council. As one of the co-sponsors of the motion, I was shocked by the decision; going in, we expected it to pass to referendum with little to no controversy. While I’ve calmed down a bit, and am not nearly as furious as I was on Thursday, I still cannot comprehend the decision. Setting aside the issue itself, all that was being asked was to let students vote directly on the question, which was apparently too much to ask for. Zach Newburgh opined that if put to referendum, the motion would certainly pass, which was for some reason an excuse not to allow an exercise of democracy by the student body.

Among the arguments presented Thursday against this motion was the idea that ArtSci students are well-enough represented by representatives from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. This story itself destroys that notion, as Council voted down a proposal that was supported by 86 per cent of ArtSci students, something that can hardly be described as representing their interests. After the vote on the motion failed, it was amended to place the question on the ballot as a non-binding plebiscite, the purpose of which is not exactly clear; a nearly meaningless online vote is hardly the best way to engage in “more consultation,” the catchphrase of those opposed to the motion. In the wake of these events, we are still committed to addressing this fundamental flaw within the structure of SSMU Council, and are determined to bring this issue to vote at the next opportunity, during the winter referendum period.

Zach Margolis
U3 Environment
Arts Rep to SSMU
(The views expressed here are his own.)