Volume 93, Issue 48

Wednesday, November 24, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

The name of the game

Editorial cartoon

The name of the game

What's in a name?

While a recent posted motion to alter the university's definition of "student" is an admirable one, it is essentially a pointless exercise.

It's been acknowledged that the main incentive behind this new idea came from events which transpired in the beginning of October when VP-student affairs Steve Zolis was dismissed from his position, after it was revealed he had failed to enroll in courses at Western.

Under the present system, students maintain their "student" status for exactly six months after the end of their last school term, resulting in most people being categorized as students until the following November. The new motion proposes this expiration date be bumped back a few weeks to the final day of the add/drop deadline in September.

By amalgamating the last day of add/drop capabilities with the last day of official student status, it is believed some unneeded confusion will be avoided, thus limiting the possibility of another incident similar to Zolis'.

While there's something to be said for making life less confusing, the fact of the matter is that what happened with Zolis is highly unlikely to occur again in the future and even if it did, such measures wouldn't necessarily ensure the USC's safety.

It follows simple logic that if an elected Board of Directors member can't produce documentation of enrollment past the add/drop date, their possibilities for adding a course have ended and they will not be considered a student for the upcoming year – thereby not qualifying them for a position on the Board. The fact that they are still officially considered students for the sake of administrative efficiency does not change the fate of the individual and does not impair any action the USC may have to take.

If this issue were completely without complication or consequence and the council wanted to take comfort in redefining the term for the sake of a clarification, there would be no harm in passing the motion. However, there is need for concern when considering backing up the date.

The Oct. 31 deadline is there for a reason – to ensure student senators are able to fulfill their terms until the annual Nov. 1 senatorial elections. This is why this particular by-law was created in the first place and to change it in light of what was, for all intents and purposes, a freak occurrence, will not solve the problem.

So, what really needs to be done to prevent the Zolis episode from ever happening again? Some no-nonsense policies right from the get-go.

Hopefully, the council's decision will reflect that the more tangible negatives of this situation outweigh the marginal negatives.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999