Volume 92, Issue 76

Thursday, February 11, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

Survey says... we're not sure

Editorial Cartoon

Survey says... we're not sure

Bound, gagged and helpless – that's pretty much how many students feel with regards to skyward tuition rates at this university.

Although the tie that binds those enrolled at Western to pay a certain fee level will be ever-present, there is little or no tie in some cases, binding university administration in setting those fees. In light of this, the latest word coming out of the Stevenson-Lawson Building shouldn't be too surprising.

There is talk about performing a survey of medical students to see if rocketing tuition levels are preventing accessibility to education and causing insurmountable mountains of student debt. Putting aside the fact this is a forgone conclusion, a survey like this apparently needs to be performed in order to hammer deregulation effects into members of the senior university administration. But wait, surprisingly, they don't want the survey results to be binding on their decisions in regards to tuition levels.

While this survey sounds like a positive step forward, there are several discouraging and somewhat flawed elements. First of all, the $10,000 to be spent performing this task could go to waste if the university decides it doesn't agree with the results. The survey needs to be a binding document which will prevent or allow, whatever the case may be, further tuition hikes.

Perhaps someone is afraid the results might point to the fact tuition is just too high.

There is also a little stalling going on in terms of the timing of the survey. While it is ridiculous this survey was not done before the tuition hikes, it is even more disturbing that the actual mobilization of the survey does not appear to be in the near future. Besides the fact that tuition should never have increased in deregulated programs to the extent which it did without some sort of study of the effects, this is something which must be done immediately.

If it proves access to education has not been affected, all the better, as the issue can be cleared up once and for all. But if it proves otherwise, further action must be taken as soon as possible on the government level as well as the university level.

For once there is a methodological approach being taken and all administration is promising is to look at the results. Concern for the future is being approached in a qualitative way and those pushing for this are to be commended.

All efforts will, however, go to waste if the results are just tossed on top of a pile of other reports which are merely being considered for implementation.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999