Mercer talks to council
Student definition changed by USC
Recommendations for BOG revealed tonight
Western helping to make sure the kids are all right
Archives may settle controversy
Mercer talks to council
By Nina Chiarelli and Paul-Mark Rendon
It was 20 questions at the University Students' Council meeting last night, as Western's VP-administration, Peter Mercer, paid the student politicians a visit.
Mercer, who fielded questions from concerned students, also delivered a speech regarding the state of universities in Canada today.
He addressed a variety of issues from rising de-regulated tuition levels to wheelchair accessibility in campus buildings.
Mercer also answered questions from USC president SzeJack Tan regarding the now infamous de-registration of four engineering students from Western in September.
Addressing the role of the Western's student Code of Conduct, Mercer said he thought it was very important. "The jurisdiction to exert penalties under the Code of Conduct is fairly strong, but the major virtue of the Code of Conduct is it gets everyone focused on what's acceptable," Mercer said.
He explained administration imposed academic sanctions on the engineers instead of laying criminal charges, after meeting with members of the engineering faculty. Mercer added the decision was made with the knowledge that three of the four students would never be allowed to be legally licensed engineers if they had criminal records.
"We felt they were bearing a burden that was disproportionate," he explained, as a reason the foursome were allowed back into school.
Still, Mercer admitted there was a lack of communication between the administration and the four engineers shortly after their initial dismissal. "They were informed they were let out of school and from there, there was no communication. That was a slip," he said.
Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the USC, raised his concerns regarding student accessibility on campus in the wake of a student not being able to access her class at the McIntosh Gallery, due to insufficient wheelchair facilities.
Mercer said although the USC was administration's strongest ally in the fight to increase accessibility, budget constraints prevented the school from making any big moves. "Every year, we identify accessibility as a major problem in our deferred maintenance plan, but there's simply no money to correct [it]," he said.