Foot Patrol makes more cents
By Joshua Budd
Yesterday evening the University Students' Council voted overwhelmingly in favour of a proposal to increase Western Foot Patrol's budget for next year.
Chris Keith, USC VP-finance, said the proposal calls for a 29.1 per cent increase in revenue from student fees for the 1997-98 academic year from $2.75 to $3.55 per student. The total budget will increase from this year's projected amount of $79,900 to $93,600.
Although the USC voted in favour of the budget, it still requires approval from the Society of Graduate Students and the Masters of Business Administration Association before it is passed.
Dave Crombie, Western Foot Patrol's co-ordinator, said he will have to cut half the part-time staff and reduce volunteer screening if the budget is not passed.
"Compared to other programs, the amount of money we ask for is more than reasonable for the services we offer," he said.
In his presentation to council, Crombie said crime on campus has dropped an average of 40 per cent since the program's inception in 1988-89 and volunteers have provided 30,000 escorts.
Crombie said Foot Patrol has been experiencing budgetary problems since the Ontario government froze fees to universities two years ago.
Currently, the organization is operating with a $4,700 deficit which will have to be paid out of next year's budget.
The program has relied on grants from Western's parking services and donations from the London Police Force and volunteers in order to survive.
"For the last three years we've made due with temporary measures but this year we've run completely out of money," Crombie said.
Keith said the budget increase was a reasonable request. He said other universities pay higher fees for their patrol services and their escorts are paid. He explained the biggest loss to the Foot Patrol's revenues came from a decrease in student enrolment this year and the subsequent loss from student activity fees.
Jerry Topolski, USC VP-communications, voiced his support for the proposal but warned next year's USC representatives that students are paying more for what used to be covered by the university's operational budget.
No one spoke against the proposal.
Crombie said he was invited to make his proposal in front of SOGS March 20 but he has not been contacted by the MBAA.