Letter of the week: March 10, 2010

This letter has been selected by the editor to offer commentary on the role of a students’ union. The letter was in response to the March 3 article “Stage two completed in market research project.”

The purpose of a students’ union

Many thanks to The Cord for reporting on the progress of the students’ union’s market research project. The results, as reported, show that advocacy is the top priority for the surveyed student body.

These results should not be surprising as a students’ union, like any union, exists first and foremost to provide collective action for its membership.

A union exists to advocate and there is no better way to bridge the “WLUSU clique” and engage students in elections than to actually work on behalf of students.

They must advocate on issues like OSAP reform, changes to Groupwise email, fines associated with Waterloo by-laws, OneCard fund seizure and the dramatic increase in class sizes.

My concern is that these market research results will only lead to an amplified communication strategy to inform students of what advocacy work is currently undertaken by the students’ union.

But communication is a lesser problem when the primary means for advocacy, the University Affairs department, is underfunded, understaffed and under-resourced so that few advocacy goals can take place.

As students see advocacy as the top priority for the students’ union there should be a considerable increase in the share of WLUSU’s budget dedicated to the University Affairs department from previous levels of around seven per cent.

–Griffin Carpenter
WLUSU board of directors 08-09
OUSA co-ordinator 09-10