With a new year comes new oppor- tunities for reflection, and we’re not excluded from that. So what does the Martlet want to see more of this year?
First, let’s see more engagement in student politics.
While we try our best to inform students what’s going on with their elected representatives, and are always stoked when people compliment our UVSS board meeting live-tweets (seriously, we love it), it’s frustrating when we’re the only ones who actually show up ninety-nine per cent of the time.
Yeah, Mondays at 6 p.m. isn’t the most convenient time to come hang out and listen . But as we saw when the board passed a motion during a meeting with low attendance last month, and was subsequently put on blast by a packed room of students one week later, more students being engaged from the start in what their representatives are doing is a good thing more often than not.
Second, let’s see more straightforward communication from the university administration.
A lot of our reporting on the UVic administration in 2016 was around its lack of communication and transparency with its student body and the greater community. UVic’s plans to proactively address complex issues, like the drafting of a sexualized violence policy and continued funding for child care programs, resulted in more questions than answers, and we’re still not sure how either will pan out.
In the new year, we hope that the UVic administration recognizes that, while it may make the university look bad, being open from the get-go saves them from backpedaling later, and creates more time to look at solutions. Drop the UVic Edge buzzwords, and just be straight up with students.
Third, we want to hear a more diverse set of voices both on campus and in our own publication.
Our role in this goes beyond simply saying we want it to happen. We recognize that we have blind spots, and that’s where you can help. In 2017, we want to see more submissions from a wide variety of backgrounds to make sure all voices are represented. Greater engagement and dialogue with important advocacy groups on campus, like the Native Students Union, UVic Pride, Students of Colour Collective, and others will go a long way in achieving this goal.
Likewise, UVic and the UVSS Board of Directors alike would do well to recognize the marginalized members of their communities, and listen to them when they speak up. December’s VIPIRG controversy was a textbook example of what happens when you don’t pay attention to the work your community is doing, and act out of a misinformed idea of student’s best interests.
In short, be good to one another. Listen to people’s stories. Empathize with their struggles. Leave the negativity in 2016, so when it comes time to wrap up 2017, we can look back not in anger, but in satisfaction.