Volume 91, Issue 12

Wednesday, September 17, 1997



Dictatorial budget control looming

Re: Student fee collection tug-of-war, Sept. 12

To the Editor:
The irony is so overpowering I could cry. Western's Board of Governors, an unaccountable and closed regime that would make Stalin proud, wants to control the budget of the University Students' Council, a body elected by the students and accountable to the students. And why does Western's administration want to control the budget of your Students' Council? It seems that after increasing your tuition by hundreds upon hundreds of dollars, the administration has suddenly become concerned about student finances.

This move by the admin is roughly equivalent to General Motors telling the Canadian Auto Workers Union how to spend the union dues that GM collects for the CAW. The danger in this idea simply cannot be understated. By controlling the budget of the USC, the administration gains the power to silence the student voice and further threaten and intimidate the legitimate representative body of the students. I can't wait until Western's administration starts vetoing the USC's membership in provincial and national student organizations, both of which seek to fight on behalf of students against tuition increases, because they see the expenditure as "unjustified."

The USC is an independent organization for a reason. A large part of the USC's job is to oppose the policies put forward by the administration that the council does not feel are in the best interests of the students. Unlike the out-of-touch senior administration, the USC has a right to say that it listens to students. The USC is democratic and open. If you want to see how the Council's fees are being spent, drop by the USC Office, or look on the Internet at http://www.usc.uwo.ca/executiv/vpfin/fee.htm. If you don't like how your student fees are being spent, tell the USC! Or even better, run for a position on the USC! Unlike the budget of the university, you can affect how the USC spends your money without the help of the oh-so-benevolent senior administration. Unlike the Board of Governors, the USC is governed by students from the bottom up, not from the top down.

So please, if you feel strongly enough about this attempted naked power grab by the administration, take a few seconds to tell them. With a minute or two of your time, email three of the people behind this: Paul Davenport, Western's president, at uwoptd@uwoadmin.uwo.ca; Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, at slbppm@uwoadmin.uwo.ca; and Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, at slbgam@uwoadmin.uwo.ca.

Don't just take my word for it. Ask them to justify why they should control the USC, the organization that exists to prevent just these sorts of abuses of power. Do it NOW, before they veto spending on The Gazette and you can't read about the kind of nasty stuff that their up to anymore.

Peter Ash

Honours Economics IV

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997