Volume 91, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 31, 1998



Prez lookin' to park somewhere else

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

As University Students' Council President Ryan Parks gets ready to pack his bags, he finds it difficult to hand over the position to the incoming president as he looks back on what he believes has been a positive year.

As USC president, Parks said his most challenging task was building connections with the key decision makers at Western in an effort to increase awareness of student concerns. "This is the first year we have been able to set up regular meetings with the president's office – that's insane."

The success of the Education Party of Canada in highlighting student issues was another highlight for Parks. "Tax deductions on student loans made it to the federal budget because of the EPC."

Another indication that the efforts of the USC have brought student issues to the forefront of debate could be seen when a USC motion to draft a budget reflecting a five per cent tuition hike, rather than 10 per cent, was only very narrowly rejected by Senate.

"I think [council] has portrayed an image that shows we have serious doubts about the direction the university has taken, but at the same time we have maintained a positive image by taking positive steps," Parks said.

Yet, increasing student representation on the Board of Governors and Senate across the province was one promise Parks said he was unable to follow through on. "I was a bit naive to assume all schools wanted to increase their representation," he admitted.

Although Parks said he was pleased with the year overall, he would have liked to have been more accessible to students and did not anticipate the number of things that would demand his immediate attention – an aspect of the position which he expects could be alleviated by the restructuring of council.

Parks also said the strength of other council members made his job as president much easier. "I got into a Board meeting and I knew that we had the most qualified people making the decisions."

Taking a little time off is next on Parks' agenda before leaving for Scotland where he hopes to complete a masters degree in management economics and politics at St. Andrew's University.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998