Ex-officio motion passed
BY DAVE YASVINSKI AND MARK BROWN
Western students won a 30-year long battle for consistent representation on Senate committees and subcommittees at last month's Senate meeting, despite administration opposition.
Senate passed a motion April 17 allowing one undergraduate student position on five Senate committees and subcommittees to become ex-officio and be filled by a member of the University Students' Council, something students have strived for since 1969.
Previously, the student who was on a committee or subcommittee was required to attend each meeting in person or lose their vote on potentially important issues. Now a USC member will be awarded a seat and if they cannot attend another student can take their place and vote for them.
The committees affected are the Senate Committee on University Planning, the Senate Committee on Information, Technology and Services, the Sub-committee on Teaching Awards, the Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Admissions and the Senate Nominating Committee.
Student senator Kelly Howlett said the passing of the motion was encouraging especially in light of the opposition it faced.
Howlett had presented the motion earlier to Operations/Agenda, the body which sets the agenda for Senate meetings, where it was rejected twice before she brought it directly to Senate.
"The senior administration recommended to the Senate not to support the motion and the Senate supported it anyway. It kind of shows the Senate is listening to students," Howlett said.
USC President Ian Armour said the motion received opposition because it gave students adequate representation. "They were happy with the present situation. They didn't feel the need to give students that much more power," he said.
"It entrenches student representation in subcommittees of Senate and ensures we have a vote and a say at all meetings," he added.
However, Allen Pearson, chair of Operations/Agenda, disagreed with the motion and said the positions on these committees should be open to all students through the current nominating process and not just be assigned to certain people based on their positions within the USC.
"Student representation on committees is valuable and desirable and should be open to all students, not just by virtue of other positions they hold. The same effect could have been had through other routes," he said.
Greg Moran, VP-academic at Western, also opposed the motion saying he was content with the way things had previously been. However, he also said he is not worried about the changes. "We'll work with it. I'm sure it will work just fine."
Armour added it is encouraging Senate passed the proposal in light of the fact only 18 of the 103 senators are students.