Thanks to the handful of people who responded (including emails) to my recent post inquiring about students’ union providing Blackberries to their executives.
The devices are not cheap, and neither are data plans. This makes it hard to justify student unions owning multiple devices. Despite this, all the students unions that I was informed of having them own multiple devices.
I can understand if the students union had one Blackberry which serves as the "on-duty" communicator with an after hours "emergency" email address and phone number that union members can reach for after-hours concerns.
This is not the use that I have seen for these Blackberries. I’ve concluded they primarily serve the egos of student politicians. (I’ve noted that the places which students unions are paying for Blackberries are the places where the student politicians are self-important.)
Students unions tend to justify the expense by saying their executives have to be reachable 24/7, especially when they are out of the office during business hours.
I now have a list of those with Blackberries. Next time I have a story requiring a student union executive quote, I will send an email to these Blackberries and test to see which student union executives respond in a timely manner.
Here’s my follow-up question. Do any of these student unions make their monthly bills public information? Can students monitor to make sure the student politicians aren’t abusing them for personal use?