It appears as though the St. Michael’s College Students’ Union (SMCSU) is ready to come back, but I’m skeptical that the supposedly new and improved organization will be able to regain any trust.
SMCSU was dissolved in light of the several controversies that plagued it last year, including Snapchat videos of then current and former members employing Islamophobic rhetoric and a failed financial audit. These revelations led many St. Michael’s College (SMC) students, including myself, to lose faith in the union that supposedly represents their collective interests.
In a blog post detailing his vision of a “re-imagined” SMCSU, SMC President David Mulroney stated that SMCSU “not only had a money problem, but a people problem” prior to his arrival. Rumours of SMC’s party culture have been around for some time; Mulroney characterized SMCSU’s operations as closer to those of a fraternity than a respected student government.
I would have to agree. During my time as a student at SMC, my only interaction with the student government has been the union fees I pay every semester. However, I haven’t seen this money go toward anything I would consider useful. Unlike other colleges, who seem to make it a priority to create a close-knit community of students on campus, I haven’t seen a significant attempt by SMCSU to bring their students closer together through organized events. Besides an annual toga party, I personally wouldn’t be able to tell you what those union fees have gone towards these past three years. My orientation in first year, for instance, was run by unenthusiastic leaders and was highly unorganized.
If SMCSU still hopes to be rid of the reputation it has created for itself, the road ahead is tough. The steps toward reform put forward by Mulroney seem promising, but without proper supervision, I’m afraid SMCSU will find it far too easy to fall back into old habits. I’d rather not see my money be used to fund expensive dinners and trips to Blue Mountain this year.
Yasaman Mohaddes is a third-year student at St. Michael’s College studying Political Science and Sociology.