Volume 93, Issue 1

Friday, May 14, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

BOG's decision mind boggling

Editorial Cartoon

BOG's decision mind boggling

Western's medical students hit another wall in their war against deregulation last month when the university's Board of Governors failed to approve a proposed tuition freeze.

The proposal, which passed at Senate, would have kept tuition at $10,000 per year and prevented increases of $1,000 per year. The Board instead voted to send the recommendation back to Senate for reconsideration – something they have not done for 10 years.

The Board's reasoning for such a move was to allow Senate the opportunity to talk to the new dean of Medicine and Dentistry. Unfortunately, this dean will be coming to Western from Vancouver and she has not had the opportunity to witness the impassioned pleas and protests of medical students here who have fought against deregulation from day one. If she had, it is possible she would favour the freeze as much as Robert McMurtry, the outgoing dean, who brought the proposal to Senate himself.

In light of the seemingly endless increases to tuition it is disappointing the Board would be so reluctant to ease some of the burden already placed on medical students. They instead decided to second guess a Senate decision, which effectively shifts the focus of tuition increases away from themselves and back to Senate. While it's possible the Board was simply looking for more information, a move like this, regardless of it's rationale, leaves room for speculation on true motives behind the Board's decision.

The proposal originally passed through Senate by a vote of 34-32, a narrow margin of victory for medical students. Any subsequent vote will likely be just as close and perhaps, in the opposite direction. But does a second vote which results in similar numbers but a different verdict hold any more validity than the first?

All told, a freeze to the increases planned for 2000-01 and 2001-02 represent $546,000 in revenue to the university – a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue the school receives from tuition. Placed in the context of the recently approved $286 million budget, it's not much to ask for.

This would have been the perfect opportunity for the Board to show students they are listening to concerns of accessibility to deregulated programs. Instead, all they showed was they want more money.

Even more disappointing is that a major university decision has taken place after classes have ended, when a large portion of students are no longer in London to respond.

The bottom line is Senate has spoken. To ask them to reconsider their decision is an insult to them and a slap in the face to medical students.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999