Admin cracks down on Saugeen
By Becky Somerville
Western's VP-administration, Peter Mercer and senior director of housing and ancillary services, Susan Grindrod, gave a serious talk to Saugeen-Maitland Hall's resident's council Thursday night to address the issue of liability surrounding its alcohol-related programming.
Mercer spoke passionately to the group about his concerns with Saugeen's association to drinking and partying. He specifically addressed the issue of the Saugeen pub crawl and its potential to create liability for the university.
"There's a growing gap between [administration's] priorities and those of Saugeen rez council," Mercer said. "I have the responsibility to account to the Board of Governors for the university's legal position."
"I'm liable, not you," he added, to the council.
Mercer said his responsibility for students was being violated by what was being presented through Saugeen's literature and pub crawls. "I am liable to maintain the duty of care we owe every student," he said, adding unless the resident's council adjusted its programming to conform with the standards of law, he would have no choice but to shut it down.
"Get it! Get it straight! This will not continue," he shouted. "The next time I come back it'll be to shut something down."
Flyers specifically inviting students to come to Saugeen pub crawls incur a broad range of liability, Mercer explained, urging the council to stop pub crawls and institute more responsible programming. "The legal standards of civil law are being violated," he said.
Saugeen resident's council president, Jay Squires, said this year has consisted mainly of housing and food services presenting their views but not offering any options.
"Our main action is to work with them on it to develop some sort of mutual agreement," Squires said.
The residents' council is planning to arrange meetings with housing and administration to discuss both standpoints, he said.
One Saugeen floor representative, Kerry Scrimger, said administration was making generalizations about the actions of Saugeen residents. "They don't consider other programming we do that isn't pub related," she said.