No more secrets

Editorial: KSA ought to stop making controversial decisions in camera.

By The Runner

The Kwantlen Student Association’s (KSA) decision to grant the pro-life group Protectores Vitae full club status on campus should raise serious concerns for Kwantlen students. Not because of the club’s beliefs, or the implications for other controversial groups on campus, but because of the secretive behaviour displayed by the KSA when making that decision.

Students should be wary of a council that lauded the importance of transparency and accountability when trying to get elected, only to purposefully exclude students from decision making. Despite the inflammatory nature of the club which could affect the well-being and safety of students on campus as well as going against the KSA’s official stance as a pro-choice organization, the KSA reversed the earlier decision of their executive and gave in to the demands of Protectores Vitae quickly, with no public discussion or explanation.

The KSA is clearly making secrecy their go-to response for dealing with this issue. When presented with an open letter voicing concerns from constituency representatives asking for a public explanation and a chance to express concerns, the KSA responded by ejecting all non-council members from the January 2nd meeting to discuss those requests in private. A risky move, when being called out for a lack of transparency.

Besides keeping students in the dark, there have been some voices notably missing from this discussion: women. Oliver Capko, the student leading the pro-life club and Christopher Girodat, the KSA’s director of student services were interviewed at length by various media outlets during the height of the controversy. Why did the KSA allow what little public discussion provided by the media to be dominated by men, when a pro-life club on campus holds much greater implications for Kwantlen’s female students? If the KSA insisted on keeping the matter close at hand, why not allow their director of external affairs and women’s rep Arzo Ansary to speak on their behalf? She seems to be an obvious choice to represent Kwantlen to the media, so why didn’t she?

The way the KSA has handled their decision should leave a bad taste in the mouths of students. While we can only hope that it was an oversight on their part, one must wonder what they hope to obtain by leaving decision making to a select few and retreating behind closed doors when controversial issues are discussed.

The secrecy and lack of respect for openness should set off alarm bells for students who have already suffered through a corrupt student government on campus. The current members of the KSA promised accountability and transparency; it is time that they made good on their promise.

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