Davenport talks arts
By Mark Brown and Becky Somerville
Western president Paul Davenport took time out last night to speak to the University Students' Council and later entertained a lengthy question and answer period from council members.
While Davenport fielded questions from a number of different areas the future of an arts degree received the most attention.
Davenport began by telling the council about a number of issues which he saw as a concern for Western undergraduate students such as enrolment, student recruitment, fees, student aid and classroom renovation.
Administration sees each matter as urgent and is concentrating its efforts on competing for substantial national and provincial grants, Davenport said. "I really do believe that the quality of education we can offer to undergrads depends on these funds.
"These are issues that are not going to go away," he said.
Just before opening the floor to questions, Davenport told the council that it was their compelling arguments that pursuaded the administration to reverse their stance on Orientation Week.
Arts Student Council President Normand Corbeil asked Davenport why, if administration is so concerned with Western's image and recruitment, does the satisfaction of arts students continue to plummet.
While Davenport said he was unaware there was such a view by students, he stressed the importance of a liberal arts degree, which he graduated with himself.
Pete Hill, USC VP-campus issues, was also concerned about the future of an arts degree and asked how Davenport planned to promote and improve them.
Davenport responded by explaining if you look at the real data, arts graduates are outperforming college apprentices and those in trade schools.
"There's a lot more to university than getting a job," he said. "The Maclean's theme [saying college grads get the jobs] is a lot of bunk."
Davenport said he was pleased with the meeting and the questions he received. He added he is considering the idea of attending a USC meeting every fall.
USC president Ian Armour said he was also pleased with the meeting. Armour added at Davenport's request the questions asked were not censored in any way.