Council's loose tooth
By Jason Ménard
An attempt to take a bite out of a proposed dental plan was hindered by a piece of bureaucratic lockjaw last night and has left the University Students' Council with an extra week to chew on the issue.
"Any fault in this whole situation would probably fall on my shoulders," said James Deans, the USC's chief returning officer. "I'll take the blame for this because it's part of my job."
A provision in Resolution 6, the USC's set of bylaws which govern elections, referendums and plebiscites, states there must be the publication of a notice 48 hours in advance in the student newspaper about any meeting involving voting on a referendum question. This rule was not met and forced the council to call an emergency meeting for Jan. 22 to tackle the issue.
"It's frustrating but I think council did the right thing," USC VP-finance Chris Keith said. "We would have been in direct contradiction of our bylaws.
"While it's frustrating moving to next week, now we can take another stab at informing the councillors."
Prior to the discovery of the error, the council was debating whether to allow a proposed fee-for-service dental plan to be presented to the students in the form of a referendum with the voting days scheduled to coincide with those of the USC's presidential and divisional elections on Feb. 12-13.
It was debate marked by a wide spectrum of opinions on the proposed dental plan. The plan is projected to cost just under $125 and would cover 100 per cent of diagnostic and preventative work and either 10 or 75 per cent of various other procedures will be covered up to a maximum of $500 a year.
John Miller, the faculty of dentistry representative to the USC, said he feels the council should reject the referendum.
"I'm not in favour of a referendum because I just don't think it's enough time to reach the students especially during the presidential elections," he said. "I don't believe three weeks is long enough."
Miller said while he believes students should have some form of dental coverage he would volunteer to captain the No side of a referendum because of the time concerns and the option students have of dropping down to managed dental care.
Brad Taleski, the president of Taleski Insurance Agency Inc who is offering the plan, said they would not be involved in the Yes side. "Our only position as insurance brokers is to make certain that all the information that is important to know is made clear," he said.