Volume 92, Issue 95

Friday, March 26, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

Accounting ability

Editorial Cartoon

Accounting ability

The mission statement of the University Students' Council reads "to enhance the educational experience and quality of life of the undergraduates of the University of Western Ontario." Of course, accountability is not included in the statement – yet it is probably fair to assume it to be one of the USC's goals.

Well, in past years maybe.

Accountability is a great word for presidential or vice-presidential campaigns, but in practice it appears to be a much different story. Student politicians are elected on the basis of being accountable to those who have elected them but this year's USC student representatives have, for some reason, forgotten about that part of their election platforms.

In today's Gazette there is an advertisement which shows the audited financial statements for the USC for the fiscal year ending May 31, 1998. That is, the fiscal year which ended almost 10 months ago.

USC policies state these statements must be published by Nov. 15. That's Nov. 15 of last year, not this one. This has become accountability for show, not accountability for the purpose of letting students know what is going on with their money. This is the single most important aspect of accountability which the USC must demonstrate and they have resoundingly failed in this regard.

Their statements are now next to useless. A fitting banner would be "too little, too late." Granted, there was a computer crash over the summer, a change in comptrollers and various other reasons for the statements being completed over four months late – but suitable justification and information has not been given to students.

On Wednesday of last week, Warren Tilston, the USC's communications officer resigned. He cited a few reasons for his resignation, including being bound to confidentiality on certain matters and not being able to inform students of those matters.

Last Thursday's editorial asked the USC board of directors why Tilston resigned from his position and there has yet to be a formal answer given. If he could not stand to do his job any longer because he couldn't inform students about confidential proceedings of the USC, then what is going on behind closed doors? It is fair to say students have a right to know what is going on in the USC.

What information is being kept from students?

This campus is full of intelligent adults – we'll probably be able to handle whatever information it is that is so sensitive it must be made confidential. Who knows? Finding out what's going on might actually enhance the educational experience and quality of life for students at this university.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999