Volume 90, Issue 61

Tuesday, January 14, 1997



Burns-ed out

The laying off of Mike Burns from his position of executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many students who have followed the rise of Western's provincial lobby group and has many choking on some unanswered questions.

Despite being discarded like a piece of used furniture, Burns is still amiable about the breakup from his project of two-and-a-half years and the general consensus is that the split is mutually beneficial and life will go on.

Yes, the sun will rise tomorrow, but the potential damage this early dismissal could cause is vast.

Simply put, by relieving the provincial lobby group of its executive director the member schools have effectively forced OUSA into a holding pattern until an interim director can be found. That person being effectively a lame duck until a permanent director is hired after Burns' contract was supposed to be up.

Eliminating Burns will free up some money so that the end-of-the-year books will look a little better on paper. But there are certain intangibles which cannot be measured by the bottom line.

Most importantly there is the cost to the reputation of the lobby group.

The fact that the word money is now being attached to the organization will undoubtedly cause some trepidation not only amongst the organization's members but also amongst those who may be considering joining the club.

For a group that wants other schools to join the fray, and is actively pursuing the University of Windsor, they are using an interesting technique to woo interested parties into the fold.

What students are looking for is strong leadership, especially at a time where universities have been given a one-year reprieve in transfer payments. This is the time to take action and not to waste the opportunity given.

However, by dismissing Burns and using financial justifications OUSA's member school's have done far more harm than good.

Despite any rhetoric or justifications the members choose to give, the move reeks of amateurism and can be perceived as meaning the organization is in turmoil.

When students look for representation they want to be given the assurances that what they're pledging allegiance to is the closest thing to a sure thing that's available.

Burns and OUSA's separation only serves to raise doubts in students' minds and undermines any solid work the organization has done in the past couple of years.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca