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Volume 90, Issue 67

Thursday, January 23, 1997



Dental disarray

By Jason Ménard
Gazette Staff

There was a whole lot of barking and not a lot of biting as the University Students' Council finally decided to let students choose for themselves whether or not they want a dental plan in the form of a referendum.

The motion, to ask whether students are in favour of the USC implementing a dental insurance plan for full-time students not to exceed a cost of $120 per student, was passed 35-20 with two abstentions at an emergency USC meeting held last night in the which formerly housed the educational resource centre.

The plan would allow those with alternate coverage, dentistry students or those with an immediate family member being a dentist to opt-out.

However, the meeting was marred by division, an outpouring of emotion and alleged insinuations which led to threats of legal action from both USC VP-finance Chris Keith and a member of the London dentistry community – who refused a request to be identified or interviewed on the matter – prompting a 10-minute recess to let tempers cool.

"It got personal at times and it got personal towards me, which I was upset about," Keith said. But he added he was unsure whether or not the inflammatory comments had any affect on the vote.

"It really got out of hand," USC dentistry representative John Miller said. "I really don't know how it got that way – maybe because both sides feel passionately about the issue."

Miller said he was not opposed to the idea of a referendum but was opposed to the plan itself, specifically the option of opting down from the full-price fee-for-service plan to a managed-care package.

"I think all the issues were put on the table and now it comes down to a choice for students," Miller said. However, he added while he is interested in being a part of a No side campaign, he doesn't want to captain it due to time constraints.

Keith added he would only captain a Yes side as a last resort.

The referendum question will be placed on the ballot for the USC's presidential and divisional elections to be voted on Feb. 12-13. The vote needs 20 per cent of the student population based on last year's full-time equivalency numbers – or approximately 4,600 students – to be a valid and binding vote, explained chief returning officer James Deans.

As well, interested groups willing to run either a Yes or a No side for the referendum must apply to the CRO within seven days of the vote. Both sides will be allowed to spend up to $1,150 to conduct a campaign and will be reimbursed in full should they garner at least 10 per cent of the vote.

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Copyright © The Gazette 1997