Volume 92, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

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The almighty buck

University has long been a sacred and hallowed institution – a place of learning, growth and security, protected from the many vicious elements which lie, panting, beyond its doors.

And so ACC has broken that barrier. With the contract between ACC and Western, no other long distance company will be allowed to peddle its wares on campus property or in campus media. In exchange, the University Students' Council receives part of ACC's revenue from the long distance calls made by students on their plan.

In the past four years, ACC has paid over $500,000 – money which goes directly to information technology services to provide better internet service for students dialing in from home. Imagine how much worse trying to get onto the internet through the university would be if this money hadn't gone towards improving systems.

It seems like a good deal – if it ends there. With the university's current ongoing negotiations with Coca-Cola Corporation, however, it becomes apparent the situation could easily get out of control.

If ACC is Western's official long distance phone company and Coke becomes the official drink – what's next? Will Converse become the official shoe of Western? Or Jeep the official mode of transportation?

If students are willing to accept the ACC deal in exchange for better computer service, will they accept a $50 cut in tuition in exchange for a 40 second advertising spot to be shown at the beginning of their class every morning? Where does it end?

It is impossible to say that the corporatization of this university is entirely negative – when funding is involved. These types of contracts should simply be entered into carefully, with consideration of where the money is going. In all cases the focus should be the entire student body and its most urgent needs. In the case of ACC, maybe the money could have been directed towards scholarships or bursaries.

The most important thing to look at is whether the reduction in the options students will have is worth the potential benefits from these corporate deals.

Through simple analysis of the situation, this topic becomes an issue of ideology. As a student body, it is vital to ask where the loyalty resides – in the sanctity of this institution or the dangerous lure of the almighty dollar?

We must settle with the lesser of two evils. The university should proceed with caution, examining each contract – and making sure the fine print doesn't contain something it didn't bargain for.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazette.editor@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998