Unsigned: Silencing the gallery

During a Students’ Union meeting recently, there was a vote to pass a motion to silence the gallery for the duration of the meeting that concerned the elections portfolio.

This decision was met with objections from within the board, but ultimately the motion was passed by a majority vote.

However, the divide between board members on whether or not this motion should be passed, brings into question just how effective of a unit the board currently is.

By silencing the gallery, our rights as students who pay tuition fees to attend this school and to have our voices heard in matters that help shape their university experience are thus taken away.

These individuals are in a position where they should be representing the people that elected them, not working to keep discussions strictly within the board.

There may be circumstances which would justify this scenario, however, they would be extreme “what ifs” involving specific behaviour or unresolved barrages of verbal conflict.

These core values that should be tied to the decision making process have been absent at times.

Problematic choices like this that are executed so early in the year don’t provide a hopeful image for the upcoming months.

The gallery plays an important role in these open meetings. It exists as a means to communicate the thoughts and concerns of those present that are not board members.

It is a necessity to have them present in order to move forward effectively and gain a crucial perspective from the students.

Actively listening to the statements made by the people willing to voice them shouldn’t be a tall order, given the fact that an open meeting would be the appropriate place to do it.

Students have the democratic right to stand up for what they believe in and have their voices listened to through a platform that was designed for it.

It should be the priority of the Students’ Union to have the best interest of the student body in mind when making decisions.

However, this particular decision to prevent the voice of the membersip from being heard may make this priority a difficult one to achieve.

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