Volume 90, Issue 69

Tuesday, January 28, 1997



Suspended belief

By Donna MacMullin
Gazette Staff

Brian Astl was out to prove the mission was not so impossible yesterday as he was suspended from the second floor of the University Community Centre by a rope held by two other people.

The stunt was all done in the name of presidential campaigning for the University Students' Council and TV Western filmed the scene for Astl's election campaign advertisement .

However, while spectators might have been impressed, others in the university were not so thrilled by the idea due to safety concerns.

Jim Walden, USC general manager said although the council does not have a specific policy to legislate against Astl's performance, "common sense prevails – this was a dangerous act.

"Had they come to me [to ask permission] there's no question the answer would have been no," Walden said, adding he would strongly reiterate this message to TV Western.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said he was also concerned about the possibility of a law suit had there been an accident at the scene. "Any time there is an act with risk involved the university has to be concerned," he said.

Because the UCC is owned by the university and managed by the USC the question of occupier's liability comes into play if there is a mishap, Mercer said. "It's not as if there was a lack of resources available to obtain permission – [Astl] can't plead ignorance," he said.

Bob Klanac, marketing and services manager for the USC, said both TV Western and Astl should have used more discretion when filming the ad. "They placed the USC in danger," he said. "We would never have allowed it had we known ahead of time – I wish they would have asked."

If something went wrong they would probably sue everyone they could, he added. "I also question why TV Western could not have used more imagination in their filming. They could have still created the same illusion without the danger."

Astl said he was not aware he should have obtained permission to do the scene. "I assumed Dave Stevens [from TV Western] would have said something if there was a problem," he said.

Astl added all necessary precautions were taken to ensure his safety and thought the act was not very dangerous. "It's done and no one was hurt – it's okay now."

Dave Stevens, co-ordinator of TV Western, refused to comment to the The Gazette on the issue.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997