On March 15, 16, and 17 there will be a referendum to decide whether or not ASFA should be subject to massive institutional restructuring. Everyone should vote yes. The proposed changes would see ASFA reduced in size and headed by fewer executives with more clearly defined mandates, and with the goal of being able to support the autonomy and interests of the student associations they represent. Given the significance of this referendum students deserve to know what a vote for or against this referendum means, and, more importantly, why they should vote in favour for it.
The plethora of problems associated with ASFA are both deeply embedded and diverse in nature, ranging from cantankerous and unproductive council meetings, to the condoning of sexist and racist conduct. One might justifiably add the lack of transparency and lack of financial accountability, as well as the high turnover rate of executives (a problem which, as a former executive, I contributed to). However, some might perceive these things as problems not to be solved with a hasty referendum. For those who do think this, let’s be clear what voting against this referendum is supporting.
By keeping ASFA the way it is we are further entrenching institutional practices which undermine and fail to represent student interests, perpetuate unaccountability, and have no clear direction when it comes either to listening to students or leading with executive projects and initiatives. These practices actively violate student academic interests and the welfare students are suppose to derive from having a representative student organization. These are not the characteristics of a representative institution, they are the characteristics of a tyrannical club, perverted with power and depraved to the core. So despicable in fact, as to willingly treat the students it represents as nothing more than means to deriving income, a means that can be tapped in order to fund extravagant parties, parties organized with a complete disregard for consent or any other sexual violence.
Having fewer executives and committees which are mandated to listening to students and fostering the autonomy of the students associations representing each department is a step away from the toxic mess that is ASFA.
On March 15, 16, and 17, the students of Arts and Science will decide voting yes will move us forward. Voting no will keep things the same, and by the same I mean unapologetically opposed to the well being of the students it represents, and indifferent to the problems of the past.
Next week I hope students will consciously restructure the decrepit institution that is ASFA, and will do so to the disdain of the old guard that stood by and help perpetrate the vulgar policies and practices of the past, and who now pathetically veil their contempt for students well-being with accusations that the referendum is “overly simplistic,” “hasn’t been thought through,” or “hasn’t taken everyone’s opinion into account.” I have faith that next week students will rise above this deception, restructure ASFA, and take it away from the tyrants.
Ian Campbell, former VP academic Loyola