voice for democracy

Democracy in the GSU is in Tatters. Is there a Road Back to Normalcy? – The University Times

The Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) is back at it again.
This week’s ruckus was a spat between the GSU President Gisèle Scanlon and the Chair of the GSU Board John Walsh after Scanlon informed the board – which provides oversight of the union – that its members’ term was up.
This was the same board that had recently sent a report to the Capitation Committee telling them that Scanlon and the rest of the union leadership had failed to engage with an investigation into another fiasco – the now-infamous EGM back in April when a heap of constitutional amendments were passed in dubious circumstances.
The committee subsequently froze the union’s funding until it got its act together and dealt with the complaints about the EGM.
Scanlon framed the dismissal of the Board as nothing out of the ordinary, telling its members that their term in office “was now regrettably concluded”. The nonchalance is comic.
Walsh, on the other hand, was clearly incensed with the decision, telling this newspaper that the debacle “raises fundamental questions about the governance of the GSU, as it is a transparent attempt to stand down the current board following a report which pointed out a lack of engagement and co-operation from the current leadership of the GSU”.
Will harsh comments from the person appointed to provide oversight of the union make a difference? Probably not. The current administration has shattered all democratic norms holding it together.
Revamp the constitution via a shoddily run EGM with clear voter fraud? Go for it. Refuse to hold a mandatory vote to impeach the president? Sure thing. Have public spats with the oversight Board? Why not?
The GSU has turned into a farce, and all that can be done now is try to make sure that what has gone on for the past year does not become the accepted way of doing things. Students need to keep pointing out the remarkable breaches in standards and hope that things will get better.
Because at the moment, it is impossible to make out a silver lining.

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