Stop spending money on sabbatical officers we don’t relate to
AUSA’s system is broken and undemocratic, but we’re still forking out for it
It’s election time at Aberdeen University. That time where you get the choice of which soggy-cardboard pasting, walking platitude gets a 17k salary to stay in the academic womb for another year.
Except “choice” isn’t really an appropriate term when three out of the seven positions only have one candidate – including the student president.
This is ridiculous, as these sabbatical officers are essentially paid for – in part – by your tuition fees. The university blows almost £120,000 a year on these people, yet we are so apathetic that for almost half the posts only one person managed to get enough people to nominate them.
This probably has something to do with the general student population having little interest in student politics, leaving our student association dominated by a minority clique – with political leanings somewhere a few miles left of Marxism. We’re awaiting the rebranding of Student President to Our Dear Leader any time soon.
I hear people complaining about their experience at the university all of the time, tutorial sign-ups being frustrating, shit lecturers, unfair marking, the never-ending clusterfuck of administration and unbalanced tuition fees. But these same people will then not bother to even think of attempting to be elected a representative, the people who are paid to solve these problems.
Not to say that some of the candidate running for this positions are incapable, they may be some of the most qualified for the job. But, if one really shitty person got 40 of their mates to nominate them, and nobody else is, they would probably get the job. For an organisation that never stops going about democracy, this is a pretty huge flaw – and a sign of a broken system. An easy fix to the situation is to lower – or even eliminate – the number of nominations needed, this would certainly give a better degree of choice.
But, honestly, there is only really one issues that students should really care about, and that’s the persistent lack of a subsidised licensed bar which is normally the sign of a strong student union. They made a laughable attempt to rename and rebrand “The Watering Hole” into the Union Bar – which failed and ended up in the whole place closing down.
But imagine if we scrapped all sabbatical officers salaries – so only people who really care about the position enter – and then used that £120,000 a year to run a student night club. Yeah, just think about that.