Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


Council votes overwhelmingly for $3.60 apology

BOG tables recommendations

Plagiarizing gets harder

Canada loses international appeal

Choose your own adventure

Conference targets medicine



Council votes overwhelmingly for $3.60 apology

By Nina Chiarelli and Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The University Students' Council passed a motion Wednesday night to apologize for apparent miscommunications surrounding the controversial USC health plan rebate.

"I felt there was a need to apologize to students for what happened about the health plan," said social sciences councillor Ray Novak, who put forth the motion to write a formal apology, expressing the USC's regret for any misunderstandings surrounding the $3.60 administration fee deducted from the health plan opt-out rebate.

"I wanted to do this again because it doesn't appear in the USC minutes," he said of the USC meeting on Nov. 10, where the issue to formally apologize was first raised. "There's no record of anyone having mentioned it. A student off the street who might want to figure out who to hold accountable would find it difficult."

Novak said the handling of the controversy was mismanaged. "It's important to say the way it occurred this year was completely unjustified," he said, adding he amassed a petition signed by over 300 students who felt the administrative fee was unfair because they were not given the opportunity to say "No" to the plan in the first place.

However, Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the USC, said he voted against the motion. "I didn't think we had to apologize. We adequately explained the issue in the letter to The Gazette," he said, referring to a notice which appeared in the paper on Nov. 23.

Still, Novak disagreed and said the ad, which explained the breakdown of the $3.60 administrative fee, did not sufficiently address the issue. "[The 'USC Notes'] explained where the fee came from, but doesn't explain why there's no record anywhere," Novak said. "I think more of what needs to be explained is why the rest of the Board didn't feel it was necessary [to apologize]," he added.

Michael Rubinoff, president of the law students' council, said he was in favour of the apology. "Absolutely, we made a mistake. We weren't up front about it and when you make a mistake, you have to apologize," he said. "It's a step in the right direction. Because of this, we will have a lot of debate about the issue next year."

SzeJack Tan, president of the USC voted against the motion and said he wanted to do some more investigating into the matter before it was finalized at next week's council meeting. "I feel we're going to have to look into this a little further," he said.

The sole vote from the Board in support of the apology came from VP-finance Derrick Taub, who could not be reached for comment.

Tan said there were no rules requiring Board members to vote the same way on council matters. "I don't think that's a big issue. There's no rule that binds him to vote the same way as anyone else," he said.

Novak added he was looking forward to ending the issue and felt an apology would be appropriate. "This isn't about laying blame – it's about taking responsibility," Novack said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999