Students give admin a piece of their minds
By Mark Brown and Sabrina Carinci
Western's administration listened to graduate and undergraduate students' concerns at a meeting yesterday to discuss tuition fees and issues about student aid.
Ian Armour, president of the University Students' Council, said he walked into the meeting with various concerns.
"We wanted a faculty-specific [quality improvement plan] last year's QIP was vague," Armour said. He added the administration agreed to provide the plan which would illustrate how education in a specific faculty was either improving or declining. "We're happy about that for one thing," he said.
A second concern, Armour said, was for administration to clearly illustrate where the 30 per cent of fees set aside the percentage of student tuition fees which is put toward student grants, bursaries and scholarships is allocated.
According to Armour, this request was made for two reasons. First, for accountability, to prove the money has been set aside and secondly so it will act as a tracking method. "[It is] to see where the money is going and to ensure there isn't a problem," he said.
Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, said he thought the meeting was excellent. "I don't think that we discussed any completely new ideas. What we did was explain the difficulties about increasing student debt."
Overall, Armour said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting. "I think it was really productive," he said. "We'll understand how education is going to be improved and where our 30 per cent is going."
Kelly Barrowcliffe, president of the Society of Graduate Students, said her main concerns at the meeting were the five per cent tuition increase for certain masters programs and clarity on how the 30 per cent of tuition fees set aside is distributed. She added she was pleased Armour had addressed this question.
"With the new 30 per cent structure, we're worried that it won't be enough. I think the administration is worried too they know it's a trial year," Barrowcliffe said. "I hate to say it, but we're working together."
Moran said he left an open invitation to student groups to approach him if they have anything more they would like to add. "I think the consultation process is something we want to continue with."
He added the administration and student groups agreed they should meet again before the budget is set.