Volume 92, Issue 49

Tuesday, December 1, 1998



Broken piggy bank

By simply glancing at the many countries around the world, it becomes immediately apparent that society's based on binding laws which govern its people. These laws undoubtedly change from country to country and are more comprehensive in some parts of the world than others, but they are there and are there for a purpose.

Without laws or rules to abide by, the world would be in utter chaos. Whether it is a the Criminal Code of Canada or the student code of conduct at Western, the purpose is blatantly clear as to why there are rules to govern a group of people's actions.

Western's University Students' Council also has its guidelines, which are in the form of its by-laws and standing policies. These insure the USC's elected student representatives do what has been agreed upon in the past as their jobs and their duties.

Apparently someone has been doing neither.

According to USC standing policies and procedures, a summary of the audited financial statements is supposed to be printed in The Gazette before Nov. 15 every year. So far, it has yet to touch newsprint.

The USC has a responsibility to its constituency, the students, to ensure they are informed about where their money is going and the state of financial affairs for the council. Right now students are in the dark, fumbling for the light switch – and it appears the USC is as well.

According to some members of the Board of Directors, the council was not prepared for the auditors, Price Waterhouse, to take a look at the books and prepare statements. For this to occur is alarming and begs the question of why there were irregularities in the reporting of financial information.

Those in the USC have reassured students there is nothing to worry about, but when a $14 million organization is having problems putting together statements on their operations, it tends to make the average fee paying student a little ancy.

Granted, the accounting department had an unfortunate computer crash over the summer, but this failure to report the most essential financial information of the council brings on another concern. If the USC is able to break their standing policies, like in this case, without any real accountability or thorough explanation, what is the point in having these policies?

It seems as though student leaders have free reign on whether or not they would like to follow their own policies. As a result, a disturbing scenario and possible trend emerges. If standing policies can be broken, then by-laws can be broken as well.

The tie that binds, in this case, seems to be made of tissue paper.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazette.editor@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998