Student fee increases passed
USC communications officer calls it quits
Fee may be cut for legal services
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Charges laid in latest London stabbing
Parental care receives financial boost
Caught on campus
Student fee increases passed
By Mark Brown
Accessibility and student directories were the primary targets of the University Students' Council board of directors during budget discussions at last night's meeting.
The council overwhelmingly approved to adopt the USC budget, but not before a long heated debate over whether to make some difficult cuts which even took the council into a confidential session.
The only noticeable change will be the elimination of the student directories for next year which was met with applause from councillors.
Before the budget was finally approved, council trimmed $2 from the originally proposed student fee increase of $9.36 per student, although $1 of that was transferred to the cost of the bus pass.
However, council narrowly passed a chance to reduce student fees by another $2.36. If council supported an amendment to the budget these savings would have come from a cut to the accessibility levy, a cost the USC is not responsible for anyway.
USC President Ian Armour defended the amendment by reading from the university's own policies which clearly state accessibility is the sole responsibility of university administration. Armour was quick to point out he believes everyone has a right to equal access but said the USC can no longer deal with the costs administration offloads onto the council.
Michael Rubinoff, USC undergraduate representative to the Board of Governors, who loudly opposed any increase, agreed the accessibility fee should be cut with regret. "You just can't afford everything."
The defeat of the amendment marks the second time this idea has been rejected in the last three years. Jessica Moretti, commissioner for students with disabilities from 1996 to 1998, said she recognized the need to keep fees low but disagreed with the council's decision to target this levy.
"This is not the place to have this kind of fight," she said, adding it will send the wrong message to university administration. "There is no guarantee the university will increase money to make up for the loss of student funds."
Rubinoff put forward several motions himself last night to amend the budget. One of them would reduce USC VP-finance David Small's goal of raising the reserve fund but the motion failed.
Other councillors suggested examining the option of cutting other services including University Community Centre Daycare, community legal services, CHRW, TV Western and The Gazette, but they stopped short of making motions for those changes.
The USC student fees must now be taken before the Senate and the Board of Governors for final approval. Although Rubinoff voted against the budget, he will have to answer questions about it to the Board of Governors. As of last night, he was unwilling to say whether he will support the USC student fees at that level.