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Engineer review to begin today
By Leena Kamat
The university's history of purple pranks has spurred the creation of a review team to investigate Western's engineering culture.
Western's administration and faculty of engineering science set up a three member engineering science review team, to look at engineering traditions and activities on campus, said Frances Bauer, Western's ombudsperson and member of the team. The team will begin meeting with students and members of faculty today.
Ian Moore, acting dean for the faculty of engineering science, said the team is an independent committee set up to determine which parts of the culture are acceptable. Bauer, city engineer John Jardine and retired fire chief and former Western senator Gary Weese comprise the voluntary committee.
"It became clear that some sort of independent review was needed to step back and look at the broad view," Moore said. He added the committee has been given a lot of freedom to make whatever sort of recommendations they feel fit in addition to a lot of support.
Greg Moran, VP-academic, explained the team was created after an engineering prank turned sour during Orientation week and four engineering students were suspended for vandalizing residences. He added this and other incidents throughout the past few years have resulted in the panel's creation.
The traditions and pranks are not solely the fault of the individuals involved, but are a part of the engineering culture which encouragespranks, he said.
Moran added only a part of the culture is causing the problems and not everyone in the engineering faculty should be held responsible. "There are some remnants of a culture I believe are out of date," Moran said.
The review has set up eight appointment times throughout the year when students, faculty and staff can discuss any traditions dealing with the faculty of engineering science, Bauer said. She added names will remain confidential and written submissions will also be accepted.
"We are hoping to talk to as many people as we can," Bauer said. The committee hopes to find out if the university should be concerned regarding the pranks and if any changes are necessary to the punitive system. "I would hope students will feel free to come and tell us about their experience," she said.
The review will be implemented for as long as it takes to hear everyone who wants to speak about engineering activities, Bauer added. The committee hopes to have a report ready for administration in January.
Jason Goodhand, president of the Undergraduate Engineering Society and fourth-year mechanical engineering student, said the committee might not be as successful as the administration and engineering faculty hope. "[I think] administration thinks this will open a lot of secrets, but we don't have any."
Goodhand said the team, which meets in the University Community Centre, will only discover the many positive endeavours of engineers, such as the recent job fair.