Student fee collection tug-of-war
By Brendan Howe
The Western administration's property and finance committee will be meeting two weeks from now to decide if the university will have a larger role in the pricing of student fees.
University Students' Council President Ryan Parks said he met with Peter Mercer, VP-administration and Greg Moran, VP-academic this week to discuss administration's request for justification of student fees for the USC, Society of Graduate Students and the Masters of Business Administration society.
"Until now our fees have gone to the Board of Governors but have never been questioned. There has been no review process in place," Parks said.
SOGS President Helen Roos explained if the Board decides they will not approve submitted fee requests then none of the independent organizations at Western that collect student fees will be able to operate. This includes the USC, SOGS and the MBA society.
"We have extremely minimal information on the justification of those fees," Moran said. "We need some basic information on them."
He added the university collects the student fees so they have a responsibility to the students to examine them. The administration has to make a recommendation to the Board on accepting the fees and they do not want to make a blind recommendation, Moran said.
Parks said there is no need for further investigation by the university. He explained the USC is an autonomous organization which abides by all corporate laws and has all financial records audited by Price Waterhouse, a large accounting firm.
"They want to look at our budget before it goes to a vote in council," Parks said, adding the University of Calgary's Students' Union simply submits the fees they want collected and the university does so.
University administration wants to have information on the justification of fee increases in a more timely manner, Moran said. "Last year we got the information very late and we ended up running around trying to review it in time to submit our recommendation to the Board of Governors." He added they have not examined the fees as closely in the past and more time is needed in order to examine them more closely.
Both Roos and Parks said they believe the administration is trying to deflect blame from the high price of their own fees onto others.
Parks said the property and finance committee will be meeting in two weeks and are supposed to make a decision on the matter to submit to the Board.