Watching Barack Obama’s inauguration speech on campus, I was infected with that spirit of hope that has rocked America and the world. Obama has a massive task ahead of him: pulling America out of some of the darkest days of its history and putting it on the right path for the sake of itself as a nation and for the world. That leadership is sorely needed in the United States and I wait with hopeful anticipation to see how he will fix the problems that face our neighbours to the south.
The world talks of the Bush-Cheney years as a term of inefficiency and of mismanagement – quite rightly. You would have to look long and hard to find many worse national leaders today, especially in Western liberal democratic nations. However, in an ironic twist, you don’t need to look any farther than our own University of Winnipeg Students’ Association’s (UWSA) executive to find examples of these qualities.
Over the past year we have witnessed our elected representatives wade into a quagmire of bad decisions and unaccountability. In fact, Vinay Iyer and Co. have much in common with former president George W. Bush and his nefarious sidekick, Dick Cheney. Since their election, we have seen minimal consultation with the student population, even though they continue to recite the mantra that they are acting in, “the best interest of students.” It is this lack of communication that I find especially disturbing. We never see them on campus or have a chance to pass ideas by them. The only way we can see our representatives is to go down to the UWSA offices ourselves, where we’re sure to find them talking with each other.
They may argue that they have a lot of work to do that stops them from trying to engage the students they represent, but I have barely seen any of the executive on campus this year at all (for example, the frequently empty UWSA table during Sno Week). This year, I have seen no classroom presentations, hardly any events (outside of parties), and outside of the tuition freeze rally, no new campaigns that students can feel involved in. This positively reeks of a lack of accountability and I don’t want to put up with it anymore.
I am tired of seeing our executive act in this way. This is how things went in the White House for the past eight years, and the American people opted for change. Are we going to sit around and allow this group of people another term in office? This campus needs a Barack Obama to come in and change this Students’ Association for the better. We need someone to come in and fix the problems of the previous administration. I can only hope that the people who read this article will join me in condemning the current UWSA executive for their actions (or lack thereof) this year. It’s time to replace them. Yes we can.
Breanna Walls is a University of Winnipeg student.
Published in Volume 63, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 5, 2009)