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

Enrollment at top of COU agenda

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

The Council of Ontario Universities is getting down to business and a meeting last Friday reinforced this fact.

According to Arnice Cadieux, executive director of public affairs of the COU, all the presidents of Ontario universities gathered for the first COU press conference of the academic year.

Cadieux said the main purpose of the meeting was to call attention to the dire financial need Ontario universities are presently facing.

In addition, the 6.6 per cent increase in student enrollment this year exacerbates the need for such attention, Cadieux said. "It's not around the corner – it's at the doorstep," she said.

Besides accommodating the great influx of students, Cadieux said the COU wants to ensure the quality of a university education will not be compromised. She added concern with the wave of faculty retirements which Ontario universities will soon face was also addressed.

Greg Moran, VP-academic at Western, said President Paul Davenport, chair of the COU, convened with other presidents to discuss the anticipated student enrollment rate. Moran said the increase with the double cohort was stressed. This will occur in 2003 when the Ontario Academic Credit year is eliminated and two years of high school students will enter university in the same year.

"Ontario student-faculty ratios has gone up over 33 per cent in the last 10 years," he said.

With respect to spending initiatives, Moran said Western has a priority. Although capital spending is important, having the money to pay for teachers and resources to fill the buildings on campus is essential, he said. "The most important thing for us is operating."

Moran added the COU is working with the government to address such priorities.

Kerry Delaney, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the Ministry is committed to addressing financial concerns. "In a nutshell we have $742 million – the Super-Built Growth Fund for colleges and universities to build and modernize," she said.

"We expect to start allocating those funds quite soon. To accommodate the forecasted expanded enrollment, [we] need to get started quite soon," she said, adding the money would begin to be allocated throughout Ontario this fall.

"This is the first step. After that's done, we'll be in a better position to see what further problems we might have," she said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999