Letter to Student Direct regarding UMSU General Meetings

November 8, 2010

in Letters

Originally sent to Student Direct.

Dear Student Direct,

we broke a record for the number of policies passed last week at General Meeting, and some say we should be proud. However, the endless procedural motions to block debate and pass policy without any debate or scrutiny should cause us to consider our first General Meeting in 18 months as a matter for shame as well.

Several procedural motions to go straight to a vote were spoken against by speakers saying “Look, I have an opposition speech here, please hear me out”, so this is not a matter of passing “uncontentious motions”, as has been claimed.

Students don’t come to university to learn facts, they come to be challenged. If General Meetings are simply events where anyone can get their motions through without scrutiny or debate because they aren’t about Palestine, then we may as well get rid of them completely (and we will never reach quorum online if people want to get stuff through sheer apathy). There was a speaker who wanted to speak in favour of cuts – that’s amazing! What did he think? What was his response to our arguments? How would this make me consider how I know what I know? I don’t know, because General Meeting cut him off because it wasn’t “contentious”. And our right to listen, to be challenged, to think through what we believe and why we believe it, was denied.

Several exec members are justifying the way General Meeting was handled by rightly claiming that all procedures were constitutional. But last week was a travesty of democracy, and the fact that it was constitutional doesn’t in any way change the fact that it was wrong.

Yours faithfully,

Sarah McCulloch

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