Editorial—Out with the Old

The new AUSU Council was sworn in last night, along with the new executive group.  Brought in by acclamation, there remain empty seats on the Council that, if history is any guide, will have to be filled later as the current group thins out over the next two years.

One interesting new development I noted, however, is that the current executive contains a person who didn’t run for AUSU Council.  The new Vice President External and Student Affairs, Trishtina Godoy-Contois, was acclaimed to the Indigenous Circle and selected by that circle to be their representative on Council.

At first, I admit I was a bit unsure about this.  As much as I like Trishtina—having worked with her before when she submitted an article for The Voice Magazine that I later chose as one of our Best Of 2021 articles—it seemed a bit strange to me to have someone that wasn’t chosen by the students to be a member of AUSU serving as one of its top people.

She was, of course, chosen by the students who chose to vote for the members of the Indigenous Circle, but that was for that group.  Could there be a distinction between students who thought a person might be a fine representative for one group, but have a different opinion for the other?  And if so, shouldn’t AUSU acknowledge that distinction?

Now, there are some very good things about this, notably that AUSU has taken on the goal of reconciliation with the indigenous peoples, and part of that is ensuring that they have every opportunity to attain power that the majority population does.  This, at least to me, demonstrates that AUSU has every intention of walking the walk beyond just talking the talk—as doing this opens the group up to criticisms, kind of like what I’m writing now—so it’s not something they’re doing just to pay lip service to the notion.  Another benefit is that, from what little I know of her, she’s well suited to the role and not just because, let’s be honest, her status adds extra weight to her voice, especially when it comes to issues surrounding reconciliation and making things better for AU’s indigenous students.

But I still understand that some people will see this as some form of thwarting democracy.

It’s not.

When I thought about it further, I remembered that students don’t pick the executive anyway, and for good reason.  In a small group like AUSU, the entire group needs to have a good working relationship, because bad ones can easily make the entire group dysfunctional.  So it’s important that the group has leadership it feels it can follow.  That’s why AUSU doesn’t have students elect its president or other executive members, doing that internally, instead.

While I’d be leery if council chose someone completely unvetted by the student body, Trishtina, in running for the Indigenous Circle that any student could vote for, effectively passed that bar.  And, being honest again, most students really don’t know or care who is in what position, so long as there are effective results. So, if she’s the person Council feels will help lead them to those results, then why not?

Meanwhile, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the good stuff this issue, student interviews, music and book reviews, recipes, advice, scholarships, events, even an extra comic this week from a newer writer, and more!  Enjoy the read!

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