Coming to South’s defence

By Val Jepson

It seems that the days of reason have vanished from the campus at Calgary. Students’ Union President Rob South is under fire for sticking to his guns at the recent Board of Governors’ meeting. And, so it appears there will be calls for South’s impeachment. U of C students will be lucky if South decides to stick around at all.

The deal brokered by South, and other members of the Students’ Union, is a productive and useful tuition package for students. The main motivation for accepting such a package was to appreciate the financial dire straits the U of C is facing–and to push for greater provincial government funding. And this is not just PR talk. This is reality.

Flashback to the board meeting: As Anthony Leoni raises the amendment for zero per cent tuition increase, South was calculating the potential loss of media attention to the lack of adequate provincial government funding.
South calculated that any coverage of the zero per cent motion would have deflected the coverage away from the root of the problem. He was right.

The motion for zero per cent was a loser attempt at symbolizing change. It would have been easy for South to endorse a zero per cent tuition increase all year, to close his ears to the tuition negotiations and to bargain as if was all or nothing. But, because he is a pragmatic and concerned leader, he did not. He choose for the next best alternative. But it doesn’t matter any more because the plan was mindlessly foiled.

Anthony Leoni stands tall as the hero. Well, if hero status is earned by knee-jerk thinking and low-ball political grand-standing, then congratulations Mr. Leoni, welcome to your 15 minutes of fame.

Lucky for students, Rob South has been more than a 15-minute hero. He is a visionary, and he cares more about his job than any other thing. That means he cares about students. And if you don’t care about that, then you don’t deserve a leader like South.

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