SU commissioner full of hot air

By Ruth Davenport

I have a question: What’s the point of having power if you’re not going to abuse it?

Ha ha, yes, it’s only a rhetorical question. However, after a recent conversation with one of the Students’ Union’s commissioners, I wonder if perhaps he’s taken this question just a bit too seriously.

The totally unsolicited conversation entailed a very detailed explanation of how said commissioner had it "in the works" for Campus Security and Safewalk to be replaced within a month "or so" by an outside security force. The implications of this would have been enormous, but a little digging revealed the whole story to be just that: a big fat fairytale, an utter fallacy told to a student-at-large for a purpose that remains shrouded in mystery.

Which brings forth another, less rhetorical question: Can an SU official ever stop being an SU official? Can they ever temporarily abandon the expectations of "elected representative" and dance the funky chicken?

The answer should be that as long as they are still in office and have an electorate to represent, then they are never, regardless of time, date or location, not an SU official. They need to always be conscious of their conduct and accountable for their actions. It could be argued that because the commissioner is a first-time commissioner, he is not yet entirely aware of the do’s and don’t’s of the job, but it could also be argued that walking around telling random students complete lies is a fairly obvious blunder.

If a commissioner can’t maintain the integrity and discretion associated with his role when he’s not in the SU office or on campus, perhaps he needs to give his head a shake and re-evaluate his motives in the first place. It’s not reassuring to a student body to know that one of their representatives is given to constructing on a whim what the delicate would call "manipulations of the truth" and what the less-so would call "bullshit."

To add insult to injury, the commissioner has since flatly denied his misguided behaviour. He claims not to remember saying any of it… "unless it was as a joke." How nice to be an SU commissioner–selective memory at the drop of a ballot! Again, not reassuring for the seething masses who now know their commissioners can engage in any kind of questionable conduct and then "forget" it when called to task.

Accountability? Bah! Apparently just another SU fairytale. In truth, the SU generally operates with honour and does their best to represent the student body with as much integrity as possible. It’s unfortunate that the commissioner in question didn’t think about how his behaviour would reflect on the rest of his associates before opening his trap. Instead of allowing this commissioner to weasel out of his shady behaviours with a lapse in memory, the SU should perhaps consider reassuring the student body that this type of behaviour is neither typical nor tolerated. I’m certain the staff of Campus Security and Safewalk would like to know that their positions, or anyone else’s, will never again be so callously "joked" about.

The SU officials may have a finite amount of power, but they also represent 25,000 students who must trust them to always conduct themselves with dignity and integrity–and there is nothing rhetorical about that.

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