Volume 93, Issue 24

Wednesday, October 13, 1999


Administration reinstates suspended engineers

Reversal of eviction averts Saugeen protest

USC VP removed from office

TV host bashed

Enrollment at top of COU agenda

Raver's death doesn't spook London scene

Crime doesn't take a holiday


Caught on Campus

Administration reinstates suspended engineers

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The four engineering students suspended for vandalizing campus residences during frosh week have been reinstated and are allowed to attend classes again.

Western's VP-academic Greg Moran said the decision to reinstate the students late last week was in response to discussions with members of the engineering faculty and students.

"We made a judgment call. Since [issuing] the suspensions, we have heard arguments that the students were part of a culture which encourages this type of activity," he said. "By the end of the day we bought the argument."

Third-year engineering students Paul Marconi, Matthew Nelson and Andrew Potter, as well as second-year engineering student Ryan Elliot admitted to the damage inflicted on campus residences in the early morning of Sept. 6.

"I'm really happy," Nelson said. "Since being de-registered I've gotten notes from friends and done some of the assignments to insure if we were reinstated I would not be a whole month behind."

Last Wednesday, a day before being officially reinstated, the four engineering students initiated a $1 million lawsuit against the university, said Gord Cudmore, a London-based lawyer representing the four students.

However, Moran said the lawsuit did little to influence administration's decision to reinstate the foursome. He explained this decision had been made the previous Monday.

Cudmore said the suit was based on administration not following proper school policy in dealing with the issue, due to the absence of a formal hearing or appeal process. Cudmore added the university is currently negotiating with the students to decide on a fair settlement for the students' losses. The suit is adjourned until Oct. 19.

According to VP-administration Peter Mercer, the university did nothing wrong, giving the students ample opportunity to provide their side of the story.

Moran said missing a month of classes is unfortunate but justified. "These are senior students and it is important they suffer some type of consequence," he said.

University Students' Council President SzeJack Tan said the USC issued a press release Thursday outlining their support of the students. "The problem is we have rules and protocols and if these are set out and the administration can ignore them, it compromises students."

Moran said the USC's statement surprised and disappointed him. "We're not kids here," he said. "Our job is to ensure the safety of the community and acts like those of the engineering students can not be tolerated."

Marconi said since the reinstatment, it has been tough getting back into school mode. "I've only attended two days of class and I'm already going crazy trying to catch up," he said, adding his professors have been lenient with deadlines and missed tests.

According to Mercer a review committee has been set up to look into the tradition of pranks within the engineering faculty, to insure any future acts of this nature are stopped.

"We thought the message had been given but in talking to faculty and students the message didn't seem to get through," he said. "The reinstatment of the students was a gesture of our good faith to the faculty."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999