Recently, the editorial board of The Western Gazette opined on the Affiliate Appeals Board’s (AAB) decision to strike down an upcoming BDS referendum.
The editorial board argued that while the board has value, it overstepped its mandate in this incident. With respect, the editorial board is wrong. Disliking a decision does not mean that the decision was illegitimate.
The appeals board did not overstep its role — quite the opposite. The appeals board did exactly what they were supposed to do. AAB’s role is precisely to allow students to appeal decisions by the KUCSC, King's University College Student Council, based on merit, as was the case in this appeal.
Although the actual reason for the decision was not mentioned by the editorial board, it can be summarized quite simply: the referendum was a violation of the KUCSC Community Standards Policy and Mission Statement.
In an Athenian democracy, majority rules. Thankfully, we do not live in Ancient Greece. Truly democratic institutions have checks and balances, including appeal boards and policies, that protect democratic integrity. In this case, the AAB did their job. The AAB assessed KUCSC policies and ruled that the KUCSC failed to realize that their decision would violate their policies.
True democracy is not a tyranny of the majority. Alexander Hamilton understood this when he wrote the Federalist Papers. First year political science students understand this after their first exam.
Disappointingly, the editorial board’s criticism of the AAB demonstrates that they do not understand how an appeals process works in a democracy.
- Cameran Sleewa, political science III