Volume 93, Issue 24

Wednesday, October 13, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Admin image is everything

Admin image is everything

Western's administration seems determined to mold a new image of our hallowed university. However, if the last month and a half are any indication, this new shiny image may be dulled by another one – that of figureheads left with egg on their faces.

The absence of clear policy or justifiable actions has manifested itself recently in administration's handling of two separate incidents.

When four engineering students vandalized various residences during frosh week, some form of punishment was undoubtedly required. But administration defied all sense of justice, suspending the four guilty students from school for one year. Punishing students academically for a non-academic violation was unwarranted and misguided.

Of course, the suspensions were conveniently lifted around the same time the four students mounted a one million dollar lawsuit against the university.

Following this, administration, specifically housing and ancillary services, decided to enforce strict rules and guidelines on the residents of Saugeen-Maitland Hall.

This resulted in various students being subject to punishment for vaguely explained infractions. Even the smallest impropriety such as uttering a sentence in favour of the infamous underground "pub crawl" was enough to invoke a wide range of punishments, from a stern lecture to a complete ejection from the building.

In another striking coincidence, once a little pressure was applied and bad publicity was generated, the expelled student was re-admitted to Saugeen late yesterday.

The powers that be have created blanket rules and grey areas to, in essence, allow them to do whatever they want. Administration points to such things as "the spirit of Saugeen" to justify actions which they deem negative for the residence. Such an ambiguous term allows them to punish a wide variety of actions at their own discretion.

In the face of this rhetoric, the USC has, if not a little late, supported the students in some of these cases. This is what they exist for – to support and protect students and their interests. For this, the USC should be commended and supported.

The administration has expressed disappointment in the USC for this support of supposedly "guilty" students, further illustrating administration's complete lack of concern or appreciation for their students.

However, what is most shameful is not administration's rash decisions, but rather their spinelessness. They have yet to justify their decisions when presented with any serious opposition. It would appear not even administration themselves, has faith in their actions.

How exactly do they expect the students of Western to trust them to govern this university, when they don't even trust themselves?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999