2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Secret ballots against the spirit of SLC

By Kate Jacobson, January 29 2015 —

On Jan. 13, Students’ Union law representative George Huang was excused from Student Legislative Council (SLC) for the rest of this semester. The excusal motion is required for Huang to keep his position. Without it, he would be impeached after missing four SLC meetings.

We don’t know how anyone sitting on SLC voted on this motion, as the vote was carried out via secret ballot. Other than speculative gossip, no one on SLC knows what their fellow representatives think.

Of course, their constituents don’t know either. For an organization that loves to talk about accountability and transparency, everyone hid behind a secret ballot the moment an issue was divisive.

According to SU bylaws, an elected representative can be excused from attending SLC for a term due to religious convictions, family emergencies, medical emergencies or required course components. Huang is moving to Toronto to spend time with his fiancée. The fact that the SU approved his term excusal is suspicious enough. It’s even more suspect that they’re unwilling to share how they voted.

Our SU isn’t like the federal or provincial governments. They control MacHall and clubs policy, not the military or the health care system. There’s no need for secrecy, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t know how SU representatives vote on every issue.

If you aren’t willing to publicly put your name to your opinion, then you should reconsider what you think. Our representatives had enough of an opinion on Huang’s excusal motion to vote on it. But they’ll never have to defend their decisions because it’s impossible to hold them accountable if we don’t know how they voted.

Accountability is important and it’s good that the SU talks about it. But talk isn’t enough. The SU needs to live up to their promises and buzzwords. Having a transparent voting process is either important to them or it’s not.

Accountability means making uncomfortable decisions publicly. It means answering to your constituents for your decisions. And it means continuing to do so, even when you’re uncomfortable with the topic at hand.

It’s hypocritical of the SU to abandon these values so no one has to feel uncomfortable during a vote. Your organization is either transparent or it isn’t. We shouldn’t have different rules based on how representatives feel.

I expect more from my SU. I’d like this conversation to be about whether Huang deserved an excusal motion or not. But we can’t start a conversation or hold our representatives accountable when we don’t know how they voted.

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