Fresher’s week 2008 has alerted me to an outbreak of egomania across campus. I’m not one to criticize JCR officers; many of whom are committed to serving their colleges to the best of their ability and I congratulate these people for their hard work. However, every JCR on campus contains CV hunting, power hungry ego merchants who don’t know their arse from their elbow.
It is little wonder that Lancaster University has developed a silent majority of students who feel disconnected and alienated from campus politics because of JCR cliques orchestrated by preening poseurs who devote their time to self promotion instead of fulfilling the role they were elected into in the first place. Typically, these officers are the ones who speak the most whilst conversely saying very little of actual relevance.
I dub these contemptible clowns ‘t-shirt tyrants’ who wear their JCR t-shirts not as a badge of honour but as an excuse to claim superiority over those who have elected them. Every year less people sign up for JCR positions and less people turn out to vote. This may be viewed as part of a greater national trend of voting apathy amongst students, or could it be that a majority have lost faith in their college JCRs. This problem is doing the collegiate system no favours as JCRs become more exclusive and less accessible to the wider student population.
We need greater transparency and accountability of college JCRs by virtue of public forums or reports demonstrating exactly what they have achieved during their time in office. This will give the wider student population greater faith in those who represent them and possibly weed out the rude, ignorant and arrogant JCR members who are allowed to abuse their power.
It is unfortunate that t-shirt tyranny is not exclusive to JCR Execs. Corridor Reps fall foul to these monomaniacal tendencies as well, although again I am referring to a minority. No doubt following the example of their elected representatives; it seems a Corridor Rep T-shirt gives the wearer carte blanche to abuse their position as part of what should be a support network for new students. Bedding freshers, getting them drunk, setting a bad example and being generally egotistical and insufferable seem to be the only prerequisites these days for doing a job that surely should be monitored more closely by senior college officers if some of the antics this year have anything to go by.
An interview process as used in County College, for example, should surely be adopted campus wide to prevent those who are irresponsible and unsuitable attaining these positions of responsibility. In short these people may have the T-shirts, but they have a long way to go before earning my respect and the respect of many other disillusioned students.