Another year, more URSU drama

a photo from the walking platform on archer library with the current URSU logo in a garbage bin, on fire image manipulated by kate thiessen

The pattern continues, though not inevitably

by hammad ali, Contributor

I arrived at the University of Regina campus in the winter of 2017 and since my first week here, URSU has been a visible part of the campus for me. One of the first big events I attended was organized by URSU, where I met many people with whom I remain friends to this day. Even that first year right after the URSU elections in 2017, there were concerns raised about the election process. As I often joke with my friends, since then there are two things that I know are bound to happen every early spring: roll up the rim at Tim Horton’s, and drama at URSU. Roll up the rim has not happened yet this year, but I already have my fill of URSU drama.

In the beginning it was mostly about the fairness of the election process. It seems every year there is at least one executive position for which the winner was disqualified due to questionable actions. This would then be followed by weeks of not knowing who made up the executive for the coming year, and general mudslinging.

In 2018 began the culture of resignations. I forget now who did it first and from what executive position, but every year just as their term was about to end some executives began to step down. Maybe the height of it was reached this past year, when one of the VPs stepped down less than six months after starting her term. I have previously written about how maybe these students were not given a clear idea of how much of their time and effort this job takes and found themselves unable to manage their schedules. Soon after that piece was printed by the Carillon, the URSU president at the time thanked me for my input and said they had begun a process of giving all candidates a briefing on what is expected of them if elected. Mildly proud that my writing helped make a policy change, I was nonetheless far more concerned that this meant previous candidates never got such a briefing.

As is the nature of things, this year they seem to have fallen apart in a much more spectacular fashion. Now, the resignations are no longer limited to executives. As I understand, several board members have resigned, and there are troubling accounts of an unhealthy working environment at URSU.

Fortunately (I think?), I personally know many of the URSU directors and executives that have been in the news the past few weeks. In personal interactions and working together, they have all seemed to be wonderful people that would never offend anyone or create an unsafe workplace. Which has me wondering, what is going on? Could it be that representing our interests as a part of the student government is such a stressful job that our fellow students in these positions are burning out? Could it be that the uncharacteristically negative behaviour some of them are being charged with is a reflection of how powerless or constrained they feel?

It is a shame that the URSU execs are not more open to questions from the campus newspaper. Maybe they need to see that no one is out to get them, and that candidly talking about the challenges of their work might actually help them get the resources they need to do it better. As I have been doing since 2018, I will reset my counter, and hope for at least one full year of no bad news from URSU.

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