Volume 93, Issue 42

Friday, November 12, 1999


Super Build proposal released

Opt-out fee debate heats up USC meeting

Scholarship sets $1 million aside

An O.J. a day keeps the doctor away

Plea bargaining focus of show

I'll take door #3

Caught on campus

Bass Ackwards

Opt-out fee debate heats up USC meeting

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The University Students' Council Board of Directors came under fire Wednesday night when a number of councillors voiced their concerns over a $3.60 health plan opt-out fee.

During the question period, Ivey Business School representative, Rory Capern, asked USC VP-finance Derrick Taub to explain why a charge was levied to students who chose to opt-out of the health plan. Capern was also concerned as to why members of the council were not notified about the decision.

Taub responded to Capern's query with a prepared balance sheet. He said the fee was needed to cover a number of administrative costs incurred in the opt-out process.

"This was a decision passed by last year's council which was reviewed by the financial committee in March," he said. Taub added last year's council decided it would be fair for those who opt-out of the plan to pay their share of the administrative costs, so as to not double burden those who remain a part of the plan.

Social sciences president Paul Hong raised a motion calling for a reimbursement to the 7,548 students who opted out this year. He explained the lack of discussion on the decision led to the process being flawed.

After lengthy debate, the motion was tabled to a future meeting so the finance committee could look into how to best address the situation, said USC president SzeJack Tan.

Taub said if the USC was forced to re-pay those charged, it would cost approximately $30,000 in administrative costs.

Hong said the cost would be unfortunate, but necessary. "The USC has a duty to the students," he said. "We might have to bite the bullet on this one."

Social sciences councillor Ray Novak said it is the principle which has a number of councillors angry. "I have never received as many complaints in a single week as I did this week," he said. "[This decision was made] in a very undemocratic manner." He added it only makes sense those who stay on the plan should bear the costs.

However, social sciences councillor Sarah Chan said re-payment may prove to be impractical. "I can understand the principal behind the re-payment, but at the same time I don't know if we can justify paying $30,000 to re-pay all those who opted out."

Hong said he had a solution to the problem. "I'm in social science. I've only got 12 hours of class. I'll hand the cheques out."

There are presently no plans as to where the money will come from if the motion is passed at a future meeting, Taub said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999