Attend a university senate meeting and you’ll notice something missing: the majority of your undergraduate student representatives. While each of us campaigned for and committed to this role, unfortunately, this important responsibility is not being shared equally. Undergraduate senators have consistently failed to show up or send regrets to senate meetings. When in attendance, undergraduate senators often contribute little to discussion. As the highest academic governing body at Laurier, the senate depends on the insight of student senators, to attend meetings, ask questions and provide feedback pertaining to important decisions. If we fail to do this, students will not be represented in key academic matters.
There have been numerous critical decisions brought to the senate this year. From fall Reading Week to the appointment of members of Laurier’s administration, our role is to critically engage with these topics to ensure the student voice is heard. If we are not present for these strategic discussions, we collectively fail and do not live up to the responsibility you have entrusted in us. To say undergraduate senator attendance has been lacklustre would be an understatement. To date, one senator has not been to a single meeting and two senators have failed to send regrets. When three of seven undergraduate senators fail to show up, or provide valid regrets, they demonstrate to the rest of the Senate that they do not take their positions seriously.
Simply showing up is not the only concern. Too often many of us do not engage in discussion or even pay attention. Instead, student senators scroll through Facebook and Reddit, throwing their hands up when Dr. Blouw asks for movers and seconders to make it seem like they are paying attention. This is unacceptable behaviour of elected representatives. We were elected to be the active voice of undergraduate students at the senate, not rubber stamps voting in favour of everything because we haven’t paid attention.
It is time for us all to be held accountable. We call on our fellow students to make sure that their elected representatives take these roles seriously. We represent you, and if we don’t adequately perform our duties as senators, it reflects poorly on the entire undergraduate student body.
– Colin Aitchison & Kanwar Brar, Undergraduate Student Senators