Access denied to student levy
By Mark Brown
Yesterday the University Students' Council was prevented from accessing university funds to help support accessibility levy on campus.
USC VP-campus issues Peter Hill said he received the response from the Campus and Community Affairs Committee yesterday regarding his presentation to the committee on Oct. 5.
CCAC rejected Hill's main proposal, which would have seen the university match the money raised by the USC through the levy. "Their response was that the committee commends the efforts of the University Students' Council and students at Western to make the campus a more accessible place for students with disabilities."
Although Hill said he was disappointed with the committee's decision, he admitted he was not shocked by the answer. He added his attempt was not a complete loss.
The presentation raised the committee's awareness of campus accessibility and the CCAC put forward a recommendation to separate the amount of money the university spends to improve accessibility from what it spends on renovation projects, to create a more accurate picture, Hill said.
"There was no way of knowing how much the university spends on improving accessibility," he added.
The university already commits funds to making the campus more accessible, said Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic. "We do match and more than match the money raised by the USC."
Moran said he was impressed with Hill's presentation and agreed accounting for the money spent by the university is a good idea. He added he did not see any reason why the recommendation would not pass.
"When we do a new project we try to increase barrier-free designs as long as the cost is not prohibitive," said Dave Riddell, director of physical plant.
On one project alone, the university spent in excess of $150,000, he said. The money was used to install a new elevator and improve access to washrooms in Middlesex College.
Riddell added it would not be a problem to accommodate the recommendation to show how much money is put towards improved accessibility.
"I think it is wonderful that the students have a levy to help improve barrier-free access," he added.
Currently students contribute $5.10 through student fees to the accessibility levy, Hill said. He added this year the levy raised $103,209.