An open letter to KSA Council: let us do our jobs
Campus Life / June 15, 2011
A resolution banning all electronic recording of KSA council meetings was passed at the Wednesday, May 11, meeting of council. We at The Runner find this to be a step in the wrong direction in student affairs on campus and wish to see it overturned at the next available opportunity.
On the KSA’s website, a statement to members fills the main page. The statement details the new councils’ digging into the past five years of KSA management, claiming neglect of duty, among other things. It reads, “a KSA that is not respective and responsive to you is not worth having at all.” We agree. We believe respect and response stems from a transparent council which is committed to maintaining access to any and all of its public functions.
It is essential that The Runner’s reporters be able to use the tools that any professional journalist may have at their disposal to do their job to the best of their ability. This includes digital voice recorders. An argument that council minutes are an acceptable record in place of an audio recording is faulty. There is no definition as to how detailed minutes need be, nor is there a requirement to attribute statements made to the person who said them, a fact that has recently been put to use. More to this, minutes come out a minimum of two weeks after meetings take place, and in most cases can take well over a month to be released. That kind of delay is unacceptable.
The statement goes on to describe the “debacle” of “very poor communication and transparency” seen in the past five years. To be sure, a motion which bans all recording devices from the council chambers only ensures that “very poor communication and transparency” become permanent fixtures. As elected representatives of the student body, council has a duty to maintain public access. We understand the impossibility of having every single Kwantlen student drop in on every council meeting. Our duty is to tell that story.
But just as members of Canada’s House of Commons, the British Columbia Legislature and Vancouver City Council maintain high levels of public access and audio/visual recordings, the KSA Council should not only expect such recording of meetings, but aid in the publication of the events occurring in those meetings. As an explanation for the inquiry, the KSA statement says, “we hope it will help the KSA to understand what went wrong, how it happened, and how to prevent it from happening in the future.”
The Runner believes that by holding a good record of events, this process need not be done in the future. In fact, it serves to prevent such circumstances ever arising in the first place. We urge council to rethink its resolution and allow recordings of meetings, if only to better serve its members.