Volume 93, Issue 2

Friday, May 21, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Council boiled in own water

Editorial Cartoon

Council boiled in own water

Welcome to the jungle. Housing and ancillary services will be your guide.

Administration made an effort to cage Saugeen-Maitland Hall's "zoo" image last week when they dissolved its residents' council because of infractions which occurred in their yearbook, aptly titled The Jungle Book. This action should not have come as a surprise – guidelines for the almanac were clearly expressed and agreed upon by administration and the council before the yearbook went into production.

It's fair enough to assume administration and students have differing ideas as to what function a yearbook holds. To a university administration, it is a document which represents student life at the institution, which should be reflective of the quality of the institution itself. To a student, it's a pictorial reminder of the crazy life of a first-year resident – where floor crawls take precedence over French class.

The downside of the dissolved council is not a pretty one. A plan must now be devised which accounts for orientation and year-round programming, as well as maintaining a student voice for Western's largest residence. Upper year students formerly on the 1999/00 council are now without housing.

Considering these harsh consequences and the difference in yearbook ideologies, the residents' council could have built a fair argument against the actions of Western's administration.

Could have. That is, if they hadn't been warned first.

The situation itself wasn't complicated. Administration was tired of Saugeen's party image and saw it as a threat to enrolment. They spoke directly to the residents' council a number of times, which lead to guidelines being set for the yearbook. These limitations were not totally unreasonable – there are lots of things to put in a yearbook other than people throwing back shots or residents in lude positions. Saugeen broke the rules. You break the rules, you pay the consequences.

Administration played their cards extremely well. No one can say they acted irrationally, because the council was aware the punishment which would follow such an infringement would be severe. No one can accuse them of ignoring the needs of the student – they could have dissolved the council without a reason, but they made the effort to come up with a compromise to ensure the students wouldn't suffer.

The only thing administration is guilty of is following through on their promise. Saugeen called their bluff and lost. It's too bad the wager was the students they're supposed to be protecting.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999