Volume 90, Issue 63

Thursday, January 16, 1997



Editorial: Eviction notice

Last night's University Students' Council meeting saw the end of the Part-time and Mature Students' Association as voting members of the USC.

With a show of hands, council took away the PTMSA's ability to take an active role in decision making and dispersed their voting rights to other faculties.

It is a move whose time has come.

It's easy to become entranced by the emotional rhetoric, which is the only PTMSA argument to retain their seats on council, which carries any weight. However, the bare fact of the situation is that the PTMSA should be a support group and nothing more.

There is no real reason why this group should have more of a right to impose their ideals on the council's decisions than any other group on campus.

What makes part-time and mature students more deserving of a guaranteed seat on council than disabled students, black students, Italian students or any other minority group on campus? All of whom share different experiences and could lay claim to having a right of a guaranteed seat on council.

The answer is – nothing.

This is not to deny that part-time and mature students don't have individual needs. But the same can be said for any minority group on campus. But the solution lies in the continued effort of the USC to recognize these needs and to provide adequate services and resources to accommodate those needs.

It's a job the USC has done well. Look at the structure of the council and you will see a race relations officer, a commissioner for students with disabilities. There are facilities like the Women's Issues Network which serve as a resource. The same can and should be done for those under the wing of the PTMSA. The creation of a part-time student commissioner or a Mature Students' Issues Network are workable ideas.

The fact that this decision roughly coincides with the closure of the faculty of part-time and continuing education is a moot point. The existence of the PTMSA was a redundancy. Every constituent of the PTMSA was also under the purview of the USC and if these students feel they are under-represented by the USC they should try to make changes internally.

This is not to discount the contribution the PTMSA could have in the future. It could be integral, in one form or another, as a support network where people can get information and interact with others in similar situations.

However, its existence as a political group was a redundancy and was unfair to other groups on campus.

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