Last week, journalists and concerned members of the student body were asked to sit outside the Concordia Student Union’s council meeting for five hours. Five hours. Literally, outside the doors of the meeting.
This is the beauty of closed session. People attend council meetings to get informed or, Heaven forbid, inform others but they end up waiting for hours because the information being discussed is much too valuable for outside ears.
Are we the only ones getting tired of this? A person can do a lot in five hours and having to spend it wondering what on Earth is going on behind closed doors is nobody’s first choice. We understand that candidate interviews might involve private information which someone might not want broadcasted across the school, but that worst case scenario is assuming something about the student press which we don’t appreciate.
At the end of the day, journalists are not vultures circling for the kill. We are not trying to expose people for their faults, we are trying to keep them honest. Besides, if we aren’t privy to information that could prove damaging or provide a reason why someone should not be chosen for a position paid for out of students’ pockets, then you better believe we will dig for it.
As much as we’d like to assume the candidates selected to serve as Chairperson and Chief Electoral Officer of the CSU are squeaky clean and perfect for the job, we wouldn’t know either way. This, on top of the fact that in past years, students have been interviewed in open session, really pushes this over the edge.
The problem with closed session, besides it being a massive waste of our time, is that after the lengthy process has ended, the topics which people wait to discuss often get pushed to the next meeting. While being at a council meeting can be really enlightening and give a good sense of where the tensions within the CSU run high, we sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be less frustrating, and considerably more comfortable, to watch the scene unfold from afar.
The problem? What if all the journalists gave up on the CSU completely? No live stream courtesy of CUTV and no Twitter storm brought to you by the fast-fingered journalists of the student papers. The connection between council and the student body would be all but severed. CUTV wasn’t covering this particular meeting, and we can’t blame them. After all, recording equipment doesn’t grow on trees.
These things can be tedious even during open session and it’s not a good sign when the media starts to get picked off as the hours tick by. Much to her credit, The Concordian News editor stayed for the entirety of the five hour span.
Now we’re not going anywhere and neither are our colleagues, but next time closed session drags on past the fifth hour mark, don’t expect to find a happy crowd waiting on the other side of the door.