Volume 90, Issue 67

Thursday, January 23, 1997



EDITORIAL: Power to the people

The process wasn't pretty, but at least the University Students' Council made the right decision when they decided to bring the question of whether students want a dental insurance plan to referendum.

While the case can be made that the students' council is a representative democracy there are certain issues which should not be decided by the elected representatives of the USC. The issue of dental care is not simply a financial matter, but one of personal choice and lifestyle – something that can't be voted on by one person representing 500 others.

Last night's council debate got plain ugly. There was name-calling, insinuations and bad blood between what became warring factions – one for and one against the dental plan.

However, last night's debate was not about the merit of the dental plan. It was about whether or not students should have the right to choose for themselves if this is a venture they want.

University students are adults and are capable of making adult decisions. Now the only questions that remain are: will they take the opportunity to make the decision and will they be informed enough on the issue to make a responsible one.

There were a number of salient arguments both for and against the proposed fee-for-service dental program and those must come out during the referendum campaign.

It is the responsibility of those on the students' council who made such empassioned pleas last night for their respective sides to take the reigns and try to educate the students on this matter so that they can make an informed decision – based on fact, not rhetoric.

On the other hand, the majority of the responsibility is on the voters themselves. We're not talking coffee money here. This is about an extra $120 of students' money which will be collected from their tuition ancillary fee for this plan.

Sure some students will be able to opt-out if they want to. But what about the others?

This is not an issue to be taken lightly. On Feb. 12-13, when students make their choice to vote yea or nay to plan, it is their responsibility – not only to themselves, but to their fellow students – that they make their choice responsibly and based on knowledge, not on a whim.

Thus it is the students' responsibility to go out and get educated on the issue. In the coming weeks there will be a number of forums and debates on the issues. There will be literature disseminated amongst the student body.

Read it. Ask questions. Make a responsible choice. You're not just affecting your lives, but potentially those of many others.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1997