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

Reversal of eviction averts Saugeen protest

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A Western student asked to relocate to another residence has been let back in the door by university administration.

Brett Willms, a first-year honours business administration student and soph, said he received a letter from housing and ancilliary services Thursday asking him to leave Saugeen-Maitland Hall. He said he was ejected due to a comment he made to a first-year student which was considered promotion for a recent controversial pub crawl.

Willms said since Saugeen's residents' council was disbanded during the summer over improprieties surrounding the content of its yearbook, all residents' council events were nullified, effectively outlawing the pub crawl.

His comments landed him in a disciplinary meeting with housing officials to discuss the incident and possible sanctions, which included removal from the building, he explained.

Willms said he was disappointed upon being asked to move to Medway-Sydenham Hall. "I disagreed and was upset with the decision," he said.

However, before finally being forced out, Willms said he was called into another meeting yesterday with Peggy Wakabayashi, Western's director of residences, who informed him of his readmission to Saugeen. "We went through the relevant issues surrounding my case and the decision was to let me back in the residence," he said.

Willms said a large protest outside Saugeen scheduled for last night was cancelled when the decision to let him stay at the residence was reached.

Wakabayashi said reversing the decision to re-locate Willms was made prior to their meeting. "My focus was not so much on Brett as it was on what we have in common. It was an opportunity to discuss where we go from here. We still have seven months of the school year left and we didn't want to start off the year in this position," she said.

According to Willms, the sticking point of his argument came as a result of having no autonomous representation at the residence, along with ambiguities in the Saugeen vision – a soph mission statement pledging a positive community environment.

Susan Grindrod, senior director of housing and ancillary services, said complaints surrounding the vision were unfounded and sophs were fully aware of the situation at Saugeen. "In general terms, I don't quite understand what the uproar is about. They came in understanding there wouldn't be a council," she said.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said the defunct SMH residents' council would eventually leave a gap to be filled. "When I made the decision last May to dissolve the council, we realized we'd have to find another mechanism to represent students," he said.

After his initial meeting, Willms said he organized a petition signed by 925 SMH residents asking the University Students' Council for their help in reinstating an autonomous representative body at the residence.

SzeJack Tan, USC president, said he applauded the decision's reversal and supported bringing a council back to the residence. Tan said he would bring the petition to tonight's council meeting where it would be discussed and possible measures to reinstate a representative body would be explored.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999