Volume 92, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 7, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

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Editorial Cartoon

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Post secondary education funding has always been a joint venture. Universities and colleges receive money from government, student and corporate sources and a balance must be maintained.

Currently at Western, the teeter-totter is pretty far from being balanced. More and more of the university's funding is coming from students, not only in the form of tuition fees, but also when it comes to student fees.

Three weeks ago the University Students' Council attempted to reduce the amount of money students are paying of Western's tab by putting forward a motion to reduce the USC accessibility fee by $2.36. A new motion has emerged for tonight's meeting of the newly ratified group of councillors.

While the reasoning behind the original implementation of the accessibility fee is noble, it is flawed in the fact that students should not be paying for infrastructure around campus to make access easier. This is a university responsibility and one which they should assume. Western's student fees are currently astronomical and something of this nature should not be working to inflate them.

Accessibility on campus shouldn't, however, be sacrificed in the name of smaller student fees and if it's a case where the university just can't afford to do this, then this fee should continue to be collected. It is hard to imagine though, given the magnitude of Western's budget, that a few priorities could not be put a little further down the ladder in the name of accessibility.

Student fees are for services offered by the USC or the university and this is not a service. It is an integral part of this campus.

However, tonight's motion is more flawed than the one three weeks ago. A new, relatively green group of councillors will be voting on something on which they have fairly limited information. More time needs to be taken to study what impacts could come as a result of this fee cut. Councillors should be assured the university will pick up the slack in terms of accessibility funding before it is cut.

Three weeks ago the motion was rushed – and the same mistake may be made again tonight.

The responsible move would be to hold off on this motion and examine the effects it would have and then a more informed vote could be made in the next academic year. Accessibility is a far too important issue to just rush through in the name in a decrease of student fees.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999