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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Union wrong to hide discussions

Published: October 1, 2007
Section: Opinions

For multiple semesters now, the Student Union has been trying to portray an image of transparency, approachability, and openness with the student body. Every year, Union members campaign with promises of reaching out to the campus, doing everything in the open, of finally being held accountable. President Shreeya Sinha, upon her election in March of 2007, said that her main goal was making sure the Union is more transparent. (The Hoot, March 23, 2007, First round of elections done as Shreeya Sinha takes presidency)

So why then, if transparency is the goal, did the Union decide to hold a seven-hour closed-door executive session last week to decide the fate of Secretary Michael Goldman 08? Why, when an allegation as serious as prematurely disclosing election results was being debated, did the Union lock out the student body it is supposed to represent?

This was a debate in which the very legitimacy of the Union elections could have been brought into question. If vote tallies were disclosed early, there could be a serious case made for holding the election again. The student body had a right to participate in the Union proceedings and to hear if the elections for its representative body had been carried out in an unethical manner. What exactly was the Union trying to hide in Executive session? What comments did Sinha and her closed circle of E-board appointees not want the campus at-large to hear?

Union advocate Brian Paternostro 08 was absolutely right when he said that it was bad prioritizing to do it in executive sessionI think we prioritized someone we work with as opposed to the people we work for, which is not a mistake were going to make again.

The Union has a responsibility to hold its discussions in the open, because ultimately, it is accountable to the student body. As we have seen from the response to the administrations decision to arm the police with guns, students want to participate in an open discussion. If that student body is locked out of the room, the image of impropriety immediately arises, and that is not what we want or deserve from our elected officials.

We hope that next time, the Union will remember that it works for the student body, and that the student body needs and deserves to be a part of Union discourse.