This final issue for semester one raises important questions about how our Students Union is run, the level of transparency present, and the work being done by the various officers and staff members there.
Our front page contains what is, bluntly, a list of the failings of the current SU; all mandates which they should be obliged to follow, but seem content to disregard. Also throughout this issue, we discuss how we have found our requests for comments on stories we have run previously being ignored or returned late, despite the SU already having positions on the topics, or how they have failed to release documents and minutes as they are required to do.
In effect, our Union is not communicating to us: it’s members.
It would, however, be grossly unfair to tar the whole Union with the same brush. There is much work that the officers in our Union do behind the scenes, that happens without adequate recognition. The casework done on a day to day basis by officers of the Union is never fairly acknowledged because it is, by its nature, hidden from all but those to whom it directly affects. This does not, however, excuse the Unions lack of transparency in releasing its reports and minutes.
We have over the last number of days received the Exec Minutes and SU Council Minutes from those who have them, namely college officers and class reps. We should not have had to do this. These reports are meant to be published online, these reports are meant to be available for everyone to see, but instead, they have not been released as of yet to anyone other our reps.
The last year has seen the SU lose the trust of many of its students, and certain elements of the student body have even sought to remove themselves from the Union entirely. Logically we would expect at this time the Union would be aiming to expand its support across the student body, but instead, we find a Union acting deliberately or otherwise in a manner almost designed to make us suspicious of them.
We propose that the Union immediately release all minutes that they have not done so yet, that they release all the executive officer reports to everyone immediately and that they ensure that they going forward are updated as they are released. The SU must make itself more open, must make itself more transparent and must make itself more accessible to its members and the students that it serves.
By Aaron Bowman & Muireann O’Shea – CoEditors