Nothing to show for it

Generation upon generation of University of Calgary graduates have lamented apathy at our fair institution. They have offered a myriad of reasons, from ours being a commuter campus to affluence among students.

Personally, I’m beginning to think it has a lot more to do with a lack of communication, organization and direction amongst our student leaders.

At least this year it does.

Many of you may have glanced at the cover of the Calgary Herald Wed., Oct. 29. If you had, you would have noticed the U of C getting ripped on for their less-than-timely alerting of students that a sexual predator was active on campus.

Had you opened the paper to the second section, "City," you would have seen a dominant headline spanning the page: "Pay to pray irks Muslims." The story was about the U of C Muslim Students’ Association and the $2,500 bill they are footing for prayer space during Ramadan.

What you won’t see on the cover is Bill 43.

What’s that you ask? What’s Bill 43? You mean you don’t know? That’s not too surprising.

Bill 43, the Post Secondary Learning Act, seeks to revolutionize how universities and students’ unions are regulated and administered. It has wide-ranging implications for every student in Alberta, yet not a peep in the press.

Why is that?

It is beginning to look a lot like bumbling on the part of our representatives in the Students’ Union is to blame.

When the MSA had a beef with the SU, they put in a call to the Herald, pitched their story and made the front page of a major section. When campus women’s rights advocates were upset with how the U of C disseminated information about a sexual predator, they took the same route as the MSA. The result? Front page center.

Now, in large part due to these two stories receiving such prominence, Herald reporters regularly attend Students’ Legislative Council meetings, looking for stories. I wonder why they were never there before? Maybe no one asked them to come. Maybe the SU never wanted them there.

From where I sit, peering out my office window across a snow-laden patio at the one-way glass lining the back wall of the SU offices, I question the representation we’re receiving–or the lack thereof.

Why aren’t tuition increases and budget cuts cover stories when prayer space is?

Why isn’t Bill 43 considered front page news when shoddy university communication is?

Why do we get better representation from various pockets of devoted campus volunteers than we do from our elected $24,000 a year paid representatives?

Why indeed?

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