My colleague Shane Croucher has already gone over the basics of the Students’ Union’s plan to limit the reporting on them. I’m going to focus on one issue, perhaps the main thing that’s at stake: accountability.
Chris Charnley, the SU’s president, has said in an email to The Linc: “the Union is in no form accountable to members of the press, as students yes but as members of the press you hold no right to hold the union to account, only our members through student council can do so.”
The naivety of this statement is simply astounding. This is like the leader of the City of Lincoln Council saying that the Lincolnshire Echo has no right to hold them to account, and that only taxpayers can do so and through the council’s meetings.
Which is nonsense, of course.
Every member of The Linc‘s team is a student at the University of Lincoln, and a member of the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union is funded by the university — with our fees — and, as students, we want to know how that money’s being spent, and what decisions the SU is claiming to make in our names.
The Echo and its staff have the right to hold the council to account because they’re citizens and taxpayers.
We have the right to hold the Students’ Union to account because we are students and SU members.
On Thursday, the SU unveiled a new propaganda rag, “The Agenda”. The fact that Dan Derricott, a part-time SU officer, can say that this is “making [the SU] accountable” shows that he clearly doesn’t know what the term means.
The notion that they are able to give an objective account of their own conduct is utterly ridiculous. If they truly believe this, they are in cloud cuckoo land, and probably think that Inside Lincolnshire is doing a great job of scrutinising the County Council.
The SU claims to represent the students at the University of Lincoln, even though just 13% of the eligible students (which doesn’t include those studying part-time) voted in the main elections in March 2009.
A similar amount of students took part in Carnage on Monday, which the SU opposed.
They are claiming to do things in our name, and in our interest. In “The Agenda”, they wrote: “The ‘public figures’ of the of the Students’ Union need to be questioned on what they are actually achieving for the student body.”
I couldn’t agree more. We are the only ones doing this in a public manner, and the SU want to stifle us as much as possible. They claim that “accountability is a buzz word [sic] this year in the Student Centre”. To them it clearly is just a shallow, empty buzzword.
To The Linc’s team, it actually means something.Tweet