Lack of contributing BUSAC members makes for minimal representation

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

THE BROCK PRESS/Brittany Brooks

There were more than a few empty seats during the latest BUSAC meeting on March 11, as many current councillors were on leave in preparation for the annual BUSAC election.

Even as the academic year winds down the second last council meeting of the 2014/2015 year had a number of important issues on its agenda, including a question from the public about the student-run club Brock Life Line and the event that they hosted, which featured pro-life author and lecturer, Trent Horn on Feb. 27.

This event stirred up quite the controversy on campus, where students and protesters were heckling Horn to the point that he couldn’t continue on with his lecture, fast-forwarding to the Q&A period.

BUSU Vice-president, Student Services Paul Dermody, was asked to comment on the behaviour of Brock Life Line members in regards to the event and information sheets that were being handed out to students.

“No one has approached me yet about the situation. We have over 10,000 students here at Brock with diverse views and opinions and as far as I know, Brock Life Line hasn’t broken any [club] rules. If students have a problem with clubs on campus, please come talk to me,” he said.

Moving forward, Chris Ventura, the designated speaker for BUSAC, gave a presentation that detailed how the speaking turns at council are being used. During the meetings, councillors are allotted a number of speaking turns so as to provide fair and adequate time for other members to speak during the three-hour time slot, which subsequently impact the decisions made.

A study was conducted based on last semester’s analytics to determine how well each faculty was being represented at the meetings based on how often the faculty representatives were using their speaking turns. Surprisingly, nearly half of the council members (22 of 35) hadn’t spoken during the meetings. Therefore, there is either a lack of training being given to councillors on how to thoughtfully contribute to meetings or that councillors are performing inadequately in terms of representing the students in their faculty.

However, current council member Calvin Eady, believes that it’s due to other reasons.

“There are councillors who have said that they don’t talk because they don’t know how to meaningfully contribute to the conversations we have at BUSAC without repeating what someone else has already said. There is a distinction between wanting to contribute and not talking,” said Eady.

This study comes at an important time considering that BUSAC elections and campaigning commenced on Mar. 16, with voting take place next week from Mar. 24 to 26. BUSAC candidates should understand their role as a councillor, why it’s important to adequately represent their faculty and the impact of their voice during the meetings.

“It’s imperative that students talk to the candidates and ask questions about issues that they care about. It’s up to each student to judge on who to vote for but they need to be informed before they do so,” said Eady.

To re-watch this BUSAC meeting, visit new.livestream.ca/brocktvlive. For more information such as the Speaker’s report, agenda and minutes, visit busu.net/representation/busac/minutes-and-reports/.

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