Letter to the Editor: What the SRC isn’t telling you

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This week marked the opening of nominations for the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) general election and, if the SRC executive promoted the elections as much as any of their other mediocre events, “awareness” campaigns, or personal birthday parties, you would have probably heard about it by now.

The truth is, the best friends club that is currently lining their pockets with student money while pretending to manage the SRC doesn’t want you to know about this election. They don’t want you to run, and they sure as hell don’t want you to vote.

The SRC doesn’t want you to know about the elections, not just because many of the current regime are running again, but because they are afraid questions will be asked. Questions about what they current band of cronies have actually done, or about their expenses paid retreats and trips all over the country. Questions wondering how much money they sneak out of students pockets each year while still charging to attend most SRC events, or maybe about whether those running have already promised “hired” positions to their friends and allies.

The current SRC regime is dominated by this culture of cronyism and fear where any outsider is a potential threat to this precarious balance of ego’s and self interest. The executive and much of the council are afraid of students, the administration, and the greater community. Rather than sticking up for what they believe in (if indeed there is anything), or trying to achieve significant things that would improve student life, they slink away from confrontation, playing a bastardized “game of thrones” amongst themselves at the back of the student centre.

In the past year the executive and council have impeached the only executive member who ran opposed in the last election and also the only one who stood up for himself. The president hired his friends’ significant other as VP finance, his football buddy to run the elections, and said football buddies girlfriend to chair the council meetings.

In the meantime, anyone who questions what the executive are doing are immediately bullied and shunned. The responsibility for this attitude and culture falls squarely on the current “leadership” of the organization. In the past two years numerous councillors have quit, or decided not to re-run after bullying, insults, and backroom B.S.

Any outsider is seen as a threat to the culture of head nodding and back patting cultivated by the current executive and councillors, who will gladly look past massive deficits, broken promises, and poor management so they can buy each other drinks after the next impeachment.

In the past two years UNB Saint John has lost mental health support, front line staff, and an international student coordinator all the while paying more tuition. The food sucks, residence is no fun…I could go on.

With all of this injustice on campus one would expect the “student leaders” to be leading the fight for the students. Unfortunately this is not the case. Our do-nothing student president, whose greatest achievement was a 50% off pizza promo code, has been AWOL for most of his second term, if not physically, then in motivation and drive. Meanwhile your VP external has been too busy snapchatting his way around the country on all expenses paid student “lobbying” trips to care or do anything about what is happening on campus. The VP Social is actually the only one that has actually been productive out of the lot, unfortunately that productivity has been focussed on intimidating councillors and impeaching her executive team-mates in meetings they couldn’t attend. In all of this the council has either stood by, or been to afraid to stand up to the executive and as such this is the state of your student association.

The SRC can be a great organization, but change is needed before we bankrupt ourselves and forget what the point of a collective voice is. The SRC is fast losing the respect of the students, and UNB community, and is seen as a big expensive joke. We need fresh faces who choose fighting for students over furthering their personal agendas. Students who are willing to reject fear and choose what is right, over what is popular.

The SRC needs change now more than ever. It’s time to step up and make a difference. Even if you aren’t going to run, support someone new, who you believe will actually make a difference. This isn’t high school anymore, the popularity contest is over, let’s act like it.

-Steve Hildebrand