Editorial: Divisive issues distract in student government
A student at McGill University is alleging that he was removed from the university’s student government Board of Directors based on his religious background and his opposition to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement is a global campaign that calls for economic and political pressure on Israel.
The student, Noah Lew, alleged that he had been singled out in protest materials written by a student organization in support of the BDS movement against Israel, which claim his support for anti-BDS efforts made him unfit to serve on the board. When his ratification for a term as director was put to a vote, he lost.
Lew’s story is a reminder that when a student leader’s political opinions get put in the spotlight, campus-related issues get put aside. The function of student government is to deal with issues directly impacting students.
In order to serve the students they have been elected to represent, student unions should not take a stance on politically-motivated issues. Lew allegedly supported the removal of a motion at the Students’ Society of McGill University that supported BDS.
The main function of a student government is to serve the interests of all members of the student population. Candidates for student government should focus on their ability to serve the union’s mandate, and not take a strong, public stance on issues outside of campus.
Unless it relates to the candidate’s ability to serve in an elected position, opinions on political issues should not be a factor in the realm of student politics.