Pulling teeth: Dentistry school may relocate
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
The recent resignation of a member of the University Students' Council has raised questions about a unanimous vote by the Council for the School of Dentistry regarding a possible relocation of the school to St. Joseph's Health Centre.
Currently located in the Medical Sciences Building, the idea for the move of the dentistry school came up when St. Joseph's approached the school about utilizing space they will have after hospital restructuring takes place, said acting dean of dentistry Stanley Kogon.
A task force was then formed to research the move and its benefits which include increased space, a new physical plant, promise of new instructors and insurance of the school's future.
In light of all these benefits, school of dentistry USC councillor Khristine Drouillard gave her resignation at Wednesday's USC meeting citing the Jan. 19 vote as the reason.
Drouillard said she has no problem with the move itself but rather what will come as a result which she believes will be tuition increases and an even greater barrier to education. "This is going to entail full-cost recovery [tuition]."
Although Drouillard is not a voting member of the dentistry administrative council, she said she was disappointed in the leadership shown by the five voting students on the Council for the School of Dentistry. "All members of the UWO Dental Students' Society are against tuition increases but in my opinion if you vote for A, you have to vote for B."
Voting member and president of UWODSS Stephanie Schader said the members voted 'yes' to the feasibility of moving the school of dentistry to another site and whether it was feasible to study at a remote location not for an increase in tuition which she sees as a separate issue.
"Tuition for dental students has already skyrocketed and that will happen no matter what," Schader said. "This is a fight that has to take place no matter what."
Although Schader voted 'yes' to the feasibility of the idea, she said the move would not be advantageous to students and hopes the school will stay on campus, believing there are a lot of barriers standing in the way of this plan, including tuition.
Both the vote and plan are currently considered hypothetical at this stage, Kogon said, adding the next step will be to assess budgetary and tuition implications. "It's nice to say it's feasible but we now have to look at the whole picture."
The dental assistant and dental hygiene program being offered at Fanshawe College also uses the facilities at Western as part of their curriculum, but chair of health sciences at Fanshawe, Pat Kirby, said they have had no confirmed reports of this move yet.
"We hope we could continue to use the facilities at Western wherever they could be," Kirby said, adding the move to St. Joseph's would be even more convenient for Fanshawe students.
Interim chief executive officer for St. Joseph's Health Centre, Jim Flett, confirmed the possible move by the school of dentistry and believes this idea has raised an exciting opportunity.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. An aspiring tooth artist works on his victim in Western's School of Dentistry yesterday.