EDITORIAL: The system is broken, and needs to be fixed

Editorials Opinions

In light of recent developments around the Board of Directors and the erroneous approval of $6 000 in academic grants to the Undergraduates of Political Science (UPS), one might be tempted to ask: what the hell is going on with our elected officials at the UVSS?

This is obviously not the first time UVSS policy inadequacies have been discussed. Just recently, the Martlet ran a story on inappropriate Facebook comments made by two members of the UVSS board. In the course of that report, we discovered that the UVSS has no policy for its directors when it comes to social media. This is not the current board’s fault. They inherited this policy gap. However, they now hold the responsibility of fixing this problem.

While it would be easy for members of the society, ourselves included, to grab a pitchfork and storm the castle seeking someone’s head, perhaps there is value in pausing to take a deep breath. In the words of Native Students Union (NSU) Firekeeper Blake Desjarlais, “bad medicine is never solved with bad medicine.”

Instead, we should consider just what kind of framework our governing bodies, student or otherwise, operate within — a framework where policy shortfalls are inherited from board to board, year to year, without rigorous and proper ways to address them. But it’s also a framework of violence, perpetuated by generations of settler colonialism, that allows for violence against the indigenous groups whose traditional lands we inhabit.

As they move forward in addressing this $6 000 snafu, we hope that the Board of Directors takes a long, hard look at how such an egregious error could be made — or, if it wasn’t an error at all, what kind of oversights need to be put in place to prevent those who would rather shirk the Constitution by which the Society abides. Because if our reporting of governance at the UVSS is anything to go by, these problems have a storied history.

Furthermore, we hope the Board of Directors looks to their membership and remembers who it is they work for. There were a considerable number of apologies at the board meeting on Nov. 2: apologies to the UPS, to Desjarlais and the NSU, and to the executive directors themselves. But there were no apologies to the membership — the students.

As for the Martlet, we will strive to do what we always do: fair, honest reporting that gets at the truth of what happens on our campus. If the truth we expose is ugly, so be it. But if we have learned anything this past week, it’s that it is not always best to act with the intent of tearing someone down; rather, we will strive to bring you stories that offer a constructive way forward for all those involved. We are complicit in the same system that brought on such terrible oversight, and it is up to us — all of us — to fix that system.