Student Council must advocate on behalf of students

The recent controversy surrounding the Secret Meme Club shows the need for a more active student representation.

Amon Gray

The recent controversy surrounding the Secret Meme Club shows the need for a more active student representation.

Editorial Board

The Secret Meme Club, a group dedicated to raising awareness about issues the student body is facing, has faced increased tensions with the Student Council as a result of Student Council members removing their meme posters. Student Council chose to remove these posters because they violated regulations about possible locations of posters, and out of sympathy for upset teachers. The club has labeled the removal as censorship. 

Removing postings from the Secret Meme Club worked against student interests, showing Student Council prioritizing the feelings of teachers and the administration over responding to students’ concerns. 

Student Council should actively seek student concerns and mirror student opinions on controversial topics.

The Student Council has two bodies responsible for fulfilling its mission, published on its website. The main role of the Cultural Union is to plan enjoyable events, and the student government is responsible for representing student interests pertaining to school-wide political issues. The Student Council has been successfully carrying out the first part of its mission through well-planned events, but the government does not always succeed in representing student interests. 

While it is understandable that any individual or group should be accountable for following specific rules about posting, Student Council is not responsible to enforce these rules by taking down the posters. Since Student Council neither created the rules nor violated them, the response to the Secret Meme Club postings should not fall on them. 

Student Council should have helped students to understand why the rules about poster approval exist. 

The existence of the Secret Meme Club suggests a larger problem at play between the student body and the Student Council: Students are not feeling heard. 

Student Council’s reaction and response to student concerns raised by the Meme Club was slow. While the Secret Meme Club began posting in early October, it took until Nov. 2 for Student Council to host a town hall addressing homework and workload management. Although a step in the right direction, it came too late. 

The meager attendance at the town hall suggests the time was inconvenient for most students. Trying to gain comprehensive feedback during a lunch period, when most students are at clubs or doing homework, is ineffective. A town hall should not be the only time for students to be heard. 

The blame does not rest entirely on Student Council. Although the town hall was promoted on short notice, students who find homework and workload to be a pressing concern should have taken advantage of the opportunity.
Student Council could adopt asynchronous measures to ensure they are hearing student concerns. Linked on their website, the Secret Meme Club has a place where students can share concerns or problems they are having via a Google Form. 

While Student Council has a “feedback form” on their website, they don’t often actively seek student feedback.

Student Council could easily add and publicize a Google Form on their website, use Schoology polling to periodically conduct a check on students’ stress levels, or create a physical suggestion box to survey and become better informed about the needs of the student body. 

Students understand that creating real change takes time. Because these issues take time to resolve, Student Council needs to react quickly when concerns are raised.

Student Council exists to represent student interests, and to make U-High a place where students want to be. When students feel they aren’t being heard, and have to turn to anonymous postings to raise concern, Student Council members should remember why they were elected, to advocate for the student body.

Correction: Student Council’s current feedback form is for any type of feedback, not just Cultural Union events.