To say that UNB has seen a lot of action over the past two years would be an understatement. Most of the university’s current students have experienced a faculty strike, turmoil in the faculty of law and a deterioration of trust in the senior administration by faculty.
Through it all, the UNBSU — the elected representatives of all full-time undergraduate students — has maintained one stance: that of neutrality.
This sentiment can be summed up by a response given by incoming UNBSU president Katie Davey at the UNBSU election debate:
“I think the job the Student Union did this year on staying neutral on many issues … is a very good move because we really need to make sure that we consider the fact that the Student Union does not represent one interest, one group of people; we represent students as a whole.” she said.
“If the Student Union takes a strong stance on any issue that may be controversial, it’s very possible that they’re going to alienate maybe half of the student body that they represent, and that’s not necessarily he job of the Student Union.”
Here’s the thing: As a union, taking a stance on behalf of your constituents IS your job.
What Katie does not seem to understand is that we as students vote for the people whom we trust to make the tough decisions for us. We vote because the majority of us believe that our representatives will choose the right stance on our behalf. We vote because we are trusting that the Union will fight for our concerns and in our best interests.
Neutrality is like staying home curled up in a blanket in bed instead of facing the world and doing your job — it’s safe but you don’t get anything done.
Where was the UNBSU when students were risking their lives to come to school in a snow storm because the university admin didn’t close the campus? Where was the UNBSU in calling out the admin for its lack of transparency surrounding sexual assault on campus? Where was the UNBSU when rising tuition costs and insufficient student loans have crippled many students financially?
Maybe student voter turnout is low for a reason. If you try to represent everyone, you end up representing no one.