Volume 91, Issue 23

Tuesday, October 7, 1997

frosh and go


Rezs fight back

Karena Walter/Gazette
THE POLITICS OF SPORT. Western students sent a bold cry for help to alumni sitting in bleachers across from them and a clear message to administration during the Homecoming football game in J.W. Little Stadium Saturday.

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

There was an extra attraction at Saturday's Homecoming football game for alumni as concerned students attempted to raise awareness about a recent administrative decision concerning residences at Western.

A banner proclaiming "Alumni – Help Save O-week, Dump Davenport" was erected during the game. It followed the distribution of about 3,000 flyers directed at alumni and handed to people entering the stadium which stated "Students need your help, power and influence to effect change within the administrative policies at our university."

A decision made at last week's Board of Governors meeting to no longer provide rooms in residences for as many upper-year students and eliminating this availability to sophs and other volunteers, such as residence council members, was outlined on the pamphlet.

A group of concerned residence students passed out the flyers believing changes to the residences will effect O-week programming and residence life in a negative way.

"This decision has wide-ranging effects. If you remove sophs and [residence] councils from residence you are removing the student voice," said Matthew Bryce, president of Medway/Sydenham's residence council yesterday.

Changes are being made which effect a large portion of Western students without their input, said Dan Phillipson, president of Delaware's residence council. "These are decisions that will have devastating effects – why weren't we being consulted?" he asked.

Phillipson explained the students who are volunteers, such as sophs and council members, play different roles than those who are resident advisors and therefore should not be removed from the residences.

"[Residence advisors] work for housing [and food services], they are paid to be here, whereas sophs and council members are volunteers, they are here because they want to be," he said.

Phillipson added these volunteers are the people who give students living in residence a voice and by removing them physically from the building, it is removing this voice.

University Students' Council VP-student issues Sam Castiglione was both a residence advisor and soph at Delaware in his second year of university and agreed the two positions play very different roles. "A residence advisor acts in a parental fashion and a soph acts in a sibling fashion. You can not eliminate one and expect the other to pick up the responsibilities."

The flyers came to the attention of VP-administration Peter Mercer when his son was handed one at the football game. He said the decision to eliminate sophs and volunteers from the residences will not bring about major changes to O-week.

The administration was happy with O-week this year and are not proposing any structural changes for the up-coming year, he said. "We will be working with the [residence] councils and staff to ensure the frosh experience is a good one for students."

Mercer said this issue was part a larger concern. He said the administration does not want to see the percentage of first-year students in residence stay at the proposed 85-90 per cent. "We only plan to bump it up for one year – we have no desire to keep it there."

USC President Ryan Parks applauded the students who handed out the flyers. "If that's the way they feel, then good for them." He added President Paul Davenport and the administrative members are making serious decisions that should be met with some kind of reaction from students as they are the ones effected by the changes.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1997