Volume 91, Issue 93

Wednesday, March 25, 1998



5% goal, 100% effort

A small victory on the tuition battlefield was won Friday although it is clear the war is firmly in the grip of Western's administration.

In a narrow defeat, Senate voted 26-25 against a motion put forward by student senators to present an alternative operating budget for the university in the next meeting. In the student model, tuition fees would only increase by five per cent instead of what will be prepared – an average tuition increase of 10.8 per cent.

Although tuition will most likely be increased by the maximum allowable amount for next year, the war fought against high tuition levels is starting to get stronger on the side of the students. Even with the motion being defeated, students still demonstrated that something can be done to fight huge fee increases and some administrators are actually starting to take note of the student position.

Undergraduate and graduate student senators put forward many structured arguments to Senate members on why tuition should not go up by 10 per cent. Not only that, the students put a lot of time and effort into a well-researched proposal to offer an alternative budget for the university.

The Student Caucus on Governance should be commended for the superior showing it demonstrated at the Friday meeting.

It was almost unheard of – a student voice drowning out an administrator's. Unfortunately, the voice was not quite loud enough. Administrative members were scared, they brought in the cavalry and launched a counter-attack a few days before the Senate meeting Friday, which entailed a nine-page document on why Western would not be as good a school if that extra money didn't come out of the pockets of students.

University VPs and even President Paul Davenport dug in and aimed at senators trying to sway their vote to the negative. They barely did.

It's too bad though, an option could have been reached where less money was spent without the well running dry, instead of the usual administrative response of spending as much as possible.

So the administration got their money. Now what about making an effort to actually help students out with the price they have to pay for their education?

A perfect opportunity has been presented in the beverage deal with Coke or Pepsi – with the proceeds ranging in the ballpark of $10 million – which the University Students' Council proposed would go to student aid. Instead, administrators are considering putting this money towards their new football stadium being built for the 2001 Summer Games.

Hopefully, the idea is just a passing fancy – otherwise, the administration maybe accused of turning their backs on students.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998