All Posts Tagged With: "Carleton University Student Association"
It’s ineffective, undemocratic and wastes money
During a recent Carleton University Student Association meeting, it was announced that a petition for a referendum on continued membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) will circulate. The potential savings for Carleton students are huge: just under $500,000 in student fees that are sent off campus annually to CFS National and CFS-Ontario.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the CFS, it’s an organization that collects millions in membership fees from Canadian university and college student each year in exchange for supposedly providing services and lobbying the provincial and federal governments. Its main goal is the elimination of tuition fees. In my opinion, Carleton should leave the CFS because the organization is ineffective, undemocratic and doesn’t appear to be careful with student money. Let me explain.
Elections bring music videos, apps, streaming & more
Student elections are underway across the country. Increasingly, student politicians are turning to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get their messages out. On top of that, in an attempt to attract more students to polling stations, those who administer campus elections have also taken advantage of these tools. Here are five innovative examples from 2013:
1. YouTube music video. At Western University, Ashley McGuire, Blake Barkley and Jordan Sojnocki teamed up to run for the University Students’ Council executive. Along with a sleek campaign website and a detailed platform, the trio created a music video and uploaded it to YouTube. What’s impressive is that, since posting it on Jan. 28, the video has received 10,500 views. However, members of Team McGuire were not successful in their election bids.
2. iPhone app. Team Whelan (Patrick Whelan, Amir Eftekharpour and Sam Krishnapillai) ran against Ashley McGuire’s team at Western University. This team’s electoral victories may have been aided by their iPhone app. I tested it on my iPod Touch 4G. To my surprise, it ran flawlessly. Under the Get Involved tab, users are able to join the team’s mailing list, suggest an idea and become a volunteer. The team’s platform is also easily accessible via the app.
3. The QR Code. When campus election season comes along, buildings are plastered with posters. So how are student politicians attracting students to their websites? Simple! They’re incorporating Quick Response (QR) codes to their posters that make it easy to access their sites without even having to type in a URL. Apps such as ScanLife, QR Code Scanner and Optiscan use one’s phone camera to scan a two-dimensional barcode. Once scanned, the app brings users to the site. Sarah Lavers, Kelsey Marr and Anastasia Smallwood all ran for president in the recent University of Prince Edward Island Student Union election and incorporated QR codes. Smallwood came first.*
4. Blogs. Platforms such as Blogger and WordPress allow users to create blogs free of charge. Student politicians have seized the opportunity to communicate directly with their electorates. Candidates like Caroline Wong, who ran for and won the position of president in the University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society elections, used WordPress to create her campaign website.
5. Video streaming and recording. When organizing all-candidate debates, election officials will never accommodate every student’s schedule. In an attempt to make these debates as accessible as possible, election officials have taken to live streaming and/or filming the debates and posting the videos to YouTube. Free video live streaming websites such as USTREAMand Livestream allow anybody with a video camera or an iPhone to stream free of charge. The Argosy, Mount Alison University’s student newspaper, posted videos of candidate speeches to its YouTube account.
Brandon Clim studies political science at the University of Ottawa. Follow him @climbrandon.
*Due to an error in editing, this post incorrectly stated that Lavers came first and Marr came second in the UPEISU election. In fact, Smallwood came first, followed by Lavers and Marr.
Threat to decertify pro-life group ignores union’s pledge to protect campus diversity
CUSA issued a notice to Carleton Lifeline Monday saying that the group will been banned for failing to comply with CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy. It helpfully informed the club that it has the opportunity to be recertified, so long as it adjusts the terms its constitution.
“We invite you to amend your constitution to create one that respects our anti-discrimination policy,” wrote Khaldoon Bushnaq, CUSA’s vice-president of internal affairs. CUSA’s anti-discrimination policy essentially states that “any campaign, distribution, solicitation, lobbying, effort, display, event etc. that seeks to limit or remove a woman’s right to choose her options in the case of pregnancy will not be supported.”
In sum, Carleton’s anti-abortion club must now support abortion rights if it wants to remain a student group on campus. The thought police at CUSA have given Carleton Lifeline until tomorrow to amend its constitution.
CUSA is the same student organization that famously and erroneously characterized cystic fibrosis as a disease only affecting “white people, and primarily men” back in 2008. The student savants who made up the council at that time deemed the disease not “inclusive” enough and voted to discontinue its Shinerama fundraising campaign. The burden of national embarrassment (and, you know, the actual facts about the disease) eventually prompted council to reverse the decision, but it seems the discomfiture of being a Canada-wide laughingstock back in 2008 has settled for the CUSA of late, and it’s getting back to making outrageous moves.
In what can only be perceived as an ironic push for progressivism, CUSA has turned its own constitution on its head; a constitution which explicitly states its aim to uphold an “environment free from prejudice, exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of, but not limited to, sex, race, language, religion, age, national or social status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation or marital status.” Despite Article I of CUSA’s constitution, which states that the organization “shall act as a representative of the entire undergraduate student body attending Carleton University” (emphasis mine), CUSA’s decertification of Carleton Lifeline is little more than a discriminatory move toward a segment of its populace.
Some students at Carleton University believe that abortion is wrong. Shall I pause for dramatic effect? Though perhaps an unpopular position among members of CUSA’s council, it shall nevertheless seek to uphold an environment where pro-lifers can express their political and ideological beliefs free from discrimination. That’s according to CUSA’s own stated principles. Perhaps council has forgotten, but clauses protecting individuals’ rights to association and free speech are precisely so important as to protect those unpopular opinions. Concepts such as a woman’s right to cast a vote or the freedom for gay partners to express affection in the streets were once unpopular and/or offensive positions too, after all.
Not only is CUSA failing to protect its student from discrimination based on political and possibly religious belief (anti-abortion positions are often faith-based, after all), the group has taken on the role of oppressor itself. By mandating a “think like us or else” ultimatum, council is not seeking equity for all students, but rather, is playing favourites with group ideology. Short of CUSA declaring that pro-life attitudes plague only “white people, and primarily men,” I should think this latest hypocriticial CUSA move has just about pushed limits of reason.
-Photo shows Lifeline members being arrested during a demonstration on campus last month.
From the blog of the DSU president on the Carleton University Student Association motion: Myself, other executives, councilors, and students all wanted to make it very clear to the CUSA’s student council that we did not support their decision and to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that the DSU will continue to support Cystic Fibrosis [...]
From the blog of the DSU president on the Carleton University Student Association motion:
Myself, other executives, councilors, and students all wanted to make it very clear to the CUSA’s student council that we did not support their decision and to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that the DSU will continue to support Cystic Fibrosis research now and in the future.
The DSU also sent CUSA a letter stating they are “deeply disappointed with their council’s most recent motion and that we hope that they will reconsider their decision.”
Well done. Many good student unions have seen their reputation damaged by association.