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Letter to the Editor: On CSU Transparency

by The Concordian November 4, 2014 0 comment
Letter to the Editor: On CSU Transparency

​After reading your editorial regarding transparency at the CSU, I felt the need to chime in regarding some of the assertions that have been made.

As the newly appointed council chairperson, my list of responsibilities is often a challenge, and can (occasionally) be nebulous as well. For instance, the responsibility of alerting student media about the locations and times of council meetings is indisputably mine. A moment before being made aware of your editorial, I had just finished spending over an hour with the CSU’s IT coordinator going over various email issues, including the group email for media which has been used for years now. A new email provider this year has meant quite a bit of transition, and although I have been using the same public media sendout list, it was revealed, upon examination, that a typo in the Concordian’s contact email upon transferring email addresses was the source of the problem. I can assure everyone that this has been rectified. Even councillors have had difficulty receiving emails promptly, but such is often the nature of an IT overhaul, which will greatly simplify communication once the hiccups are corrected.

On the subject of unposted minutes, I would like to begin by saying I have had the great fortune of beginning my stint as chairperson by receiving hands-on training and guidance from my predecessor, Nick Cuillerier. During his time as chairperson, Nick went above and beyond for the sake of councillors, executives and all students, by taking on the job rigorously with great professionalism. This has included, it seems, posting minutes to the CSU website, a task outlined by the CSU as reserved for the council secretary. I do not wish to point any fingers at anyone at all regarding roles in previous administrations, far from it. I simply wish to indicate that in this respect, the transition left it unclear to me that a change in traditionally allotted responsibilities had taken place, and that the chairperson has been the person overseeing the public availability of minutes. Regardless, I have already rectified the issue of minutes on the website, and will continue to ensure their availability.

I should also like to point out a factual error in your reporting. The claim that “The CSU has also not posted any minutes since 2012” is incorrect on a perplexing level, given how easily one can simply access all the 2012, 2013 and 2014 minutes of meetings, uploaded punctually by my predecessor, on the CSU website. For me to receive a dose of reality regarding the extent of my role is one thing, but Nick Cuillerier was nothing if not procedurally rigorous, which the history clearly demonstrates.

I have a great deal of empathy for those who may have felt excluded or incapable of fully participating in their university’s democratic process. The Concordian does the student population a service by pointing out where gaps in accountability present themselves, and these will continue to be addressed. However, I would like to end by saying that the blaming of these hiccups on an amorphous CSU entity left me troubled upon reading. As you pointed out, the reasons for these oversights could have been numerous, yet rather than contacting me or the secretary to clarify what may have been (and, in fact, are) minor oversights, the entirety of the CSU has been painted as neglectful and opaque. I find this problematic, and say this as someone who sought the position of chairperson in order to contribute to a team of executives and councillors that have been putting forth excellent initiatives. From defending students’ rights on a variety of fronts, to launching student run co-op cafés (actually reviving the Hive in the process!) to an excellent orientation and engaging guest speakers, and the many great things to come, this year’s CSU deserves praise for its dynamism and dedication at the very least, and certainly not blame for bureaucratic inconsistencies outside of their purview.

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