Grad council changes its tune
By Donna MacMullin
Let's call the whole thing off.
This was the decision made by the Society of Graduate Students Jan. 16, concerning their previous decision to hire a researcher to conduct an investigation into the fairness of Intercollegiate Athletics' ancillary fee.
In September, SOGS voted in favour of spending up to $1,200 to hire a researcher to investigate and write a report assessing the benefit of Intercollegiate Athletics to graduate students. Applications for the contract position opened Jan. 9 and was advertised in a campus paper.
Andrew Hui, SOGS president, said the decision to cancel the researcher was made after council did a cost-benefit analysis. "In review of our finances, council decided the money would be better spent in other areas," he said.
Currently Western students pay a $76 ancillary fee to Intercollegiate Athletics, although only 14 out of the 2,000 graduate students were varsity athletes last year. "It works out to about $10,000 [of graduate students' money] which should go to each athlete and they certainly don't get that much," Hui said.
The research was expected to examine the entire scope of Intercollegiate Athletics' operations, including their policy on sexual harassment. "Basically we wanted to know what [the sexual harassment] policy was and procedures for dealing with complaints to make sure [a policy] did exist and was comparable to other schools," Hui said. "We are not accusing Intercollegiate Athletics of anything."
Hui said SOGS' main concern was that they felt they were being unfairly taxed.
Cancelling the researcher was an independent decision made by council, Hui added. He said some SOGS council members had concerns over the decision and he expects the taxation issue will still be investigated. "It is an issue [SOGS] will continue to look into because we feel it is not fair."
In retrospect, Hui said the research report would have served as an interesting project for both SOGS and Intercollegiate Athletics. "The research was mainly to collect data which doesn't hurt anyone," he said. For now, the $1,200 will remain as an unbudgeted amount for SOGS, Hui said.
Applicants for the researcher position will be informed in writing that the opportunity is no longer available.