Petitioning dollars and fees
By Dave Yasvinski
Western students upset over paying more money for non-academic fees than any other university in the country were given the opportunity to have their voices heard at last night's University Students' Council meeting.
Ray Novak, president of Western's reform club, presented a petition and spoke briefly at the meeting, asking the USC to examine the fees students are required to pay. Novak added their intention was not to criticize the USC but rather raise the issue.
"We weren't there to finger point or blame people but give them something to think about."
Novak said he started the petition during Clubs Week, asking the USC to find a way to reduce the fees charged to Western students, which are over $200 higher than the next closest university. "I want to know why the fees are so high and what they're going to do about it."
The petition was signed by 235 people.
USC general manager, Jim Walden, said the largest difference between Western and other universities is the result of a $200 fee added to student ancillary fees in 1994. This move was forced by the reduction of grants which had to be countered by transferring some costs to the students and making certain services self-sufficient.
Walden added it is difficult to compare the ancillary fees of different universities because of the differing levels of services these fees account for. "People do simple comparisons and don't understand the differing scopes, they make very simple arguments to complex issues," he said.
USC president Ian Armour said he stands behind every ancillary fee charged to students. "If in the end we can decrease fees it's something we consider. We do our best to cut expenditures."
Armour added he is willing to sit down to discuss the justification for ancillary fees to anyone. "It's easy to be skeptical but I'll take anyone through it line for line," he said.
Novak said he noticed Armour seemed receptive at the meeting, so hopefully they'll be able to talk in the future. "I think the point was well taken, hopefully it will spawn further debate, which is all we can ask," Novak said.