Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: The Students’ Union
In reviewing the letters and articles in the Gauntlet in the past few weeks, I have seen an obvious and disturbing trend, namely waves of SU criticisms. While constructive criticism of a legitimate institution is always welcome, I have found that the majority of these articles/letters have been unduly harsh and judgmental of the SU.
The act of governance is never an easy one. When dealing with a particular “problem,” easy solutions are few and far between. Many times, such problems cross over more than just one policy area, spawning multitudes of difficulties. For instance, when looking at Den security, consideration must be given to both human welfare and economics. If the SU completely bans of outside visitors (as one letter to the editor seemed to suggest), there would be disastrous economic and student outcry fallout. Imagine the amount of business the Den would lose from such a decision; as Kris Kotarski put it “the Den is the jewel of the SU’s financial empire.” Compounded on those problems would be a reprisal resulting from students whose groups of friends extended past the university borders.
On the other hand, is the idea of transferring control of all SU businesses to the professionals of the bureaucracy. These people are good at what they do, but the fact is, they are out to maximize profit. Profit, while usually a good thing, has the potential to not always coincide with students’ best interests. We should be thankful that some of these basic services (access to cheap books, copying, inexpensive beer) are still within the SU’s (and therefore students’) hands.
The steps that the SU has taken thus far have been neither of these extremes, but rather a moderate middle approach of information distributing and warning. This is the sort of action that one would expect of a democratic and responsible government. It is my belief that the majority of the SU members are hard-working students with a basic idea of positively affecting life on campus through their positions. I for one applaud the SU for the services they do provide, through both the governing body and the bureaucracy. It’s always easy to criticize or make extremist remarks when you’re sitting on the outside of the government; it’s quite another story when you are actually there.
– Bryan West
Editor, the Gauntlet,