Council sheds group
By Karena Walter
The Part-time and Mature Students' Association had its representation cut from the University Students' Council following an emotional debate last night.
Council voted to remove the seven councillors to reflect the restructuring of university faculties. Western will merge part-time and continuing education with the graduate schools of library and information science and journalism next year.
The current PTMSA members will still be allowed to vote until the second half of the annual general meeting in March.
Paula Platero, president of PTMSA, asked council to postpone the decision a week until she had time to consult with her members and look into the history of the organization to research the justification of their positions on council. "We're asking for time to research our options," she said. "Right now it's too rushed."
The association was informed of the motion at the last USC meeting, just before Christmas break.
"I agree there's a lot of vagueness about what's going to be happening," said Dave Tompkins, USC president. However, he said council had to look at PTMSA's role in today's context.
The issue was brought forth now so changes in voting composition could be made before the next election in February.
Currently, there is no plan in place to determine what is to become of PTMSA and how it will serve students. Chris Keith, the USC's VP-finance, said they may become a resource network, with a structure similar to the Woman's Issues Network.
But WIN co-ordinator Kelly Guitard said WIN changed from a voting member of the USC to a non-voting member in a previous year and there is now a lack of institutional support for WIN. "I don't think it would be effective for PTMSA to be put in something like WIN," she said, adding structural problems affect how effective WIN is on campus.
The debate became heated when councillors started attacking the PTMSA's credibility as a reliable source of information for their constituents.
There was also mention of a contract that may exist which binds the USC to having representatives from PTMSA as voting members. However, this document, if it does exist, has yet to be found.
"We'll be putting together a viable plan to ensure the USC is representing part-time and mature issues," Tompkins said. He said part-time and mature students should be encouraged to run for positions within their own faculties in the next election.