Volume 91, Issue 70

Tuesday, February 3, 1998



Students angry Sophs sliced in half

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

Students are calling the recent decision by Western's housing and food services to cut the number of Sophs in residences by half a "shit sandwich with a cherry on top" and are angry they were not part of the decision-making process.

At a meeting last Friday of the University Committee on Student Housing, senior director of housing and food services Susan Grindrod delivered the news there will be only one Soph per floor in Western's residences next year plus four council executives per building – cutting the current numbers by half.

Students have been wondering about the fate of Sophs and residents' councils since the university announced in the fall that due to the successful recruiting tool of guaranteeing first-year students a room in residence, there would be no rooms allotted for upper-year students and volunteers such as Sophs and council members.

Grindrod said the decision was not a new policy, but a way to follow the Senate-approved admissions policy that allows the university to provide beds for first-year students as demand dictates. She explained this is why the decision did not have to be voted on by the university's Senate. "This is a decision made by both the residents' councils and housing – we came to an understanding," she said.

But residents' council presidents said this decision was presented to them 'for your information' style and they were not part of any negotiation process. "I was told [by the administration] that they were not here to negotiate with us," said Delaware residents' council president Dan Phillipson.

"We were given the choice of taking nothing or something – it was the lesser of two evils."

Saugeen-Maitland Hall, which currently has 99 Sophs living in the residence for its 1,100 students, will be the hardest hit next year with only 40 Sophs, including their council executives. "This is a very drastic decision and we are very irate – we're currently looking for options," said council president Ricardo Mathison.

"What [the administration] has done is taken everything away and then given some back so it makes them look good. But who is this good for, the university or the students?" asked Meghan Symsyk, University Students' Council VP-student affairs and chair of UCOSH.

Phillipson said the councils are concerned about why the administration wants to reduce student representation. "Why are they so afraid to listen to us? We are the paying consumers of their goods yet they are not listening to our needs."

Although the administration is calling next year a 'band-aid' year, Grindrod said it would be foolish for them to guarantee the numbers of Sophs will go back up after the new residence is built in 1999.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1998