Volume 93, Issue 10

Wednesday, September 15, 1999


Western Prof asks for rights probe

Saugeen yet to find USC representation

Student dies in early morning tragedy

Dean looks to restructuring funding of Mustang sports

Guelph students left out in cold

Two new businesses infiltrate UCC

News Briefs

Buzz Mecca

Caught on campus

Dean looks to restructuring funding of Mustang sports

By David Paul
Gazette Writer

A final report promoting gender equality is surfacing on Western's agenda.

The report, from the Intercollegiate Athletics Strategic Planning Committee, is currently under review by Angelo Belcastro, Western's dean of health sciences. The document, which was given to Belcastro on May 15, includes a call for equity in funding for women's sports. At present, men's sporting teams receive 70 per cent of the athletics budget.

Although there is nothing in the report calling for the elimination of any particular sports, Belcastro said the 50-50 funding formula is important to him. "The issue for me is one of equity," he said.

The report's findings will be addressed by faculty, athletes, coaches and a Senate committee, scheduled to meet in early October. Belcastro hopes to have the bulk of the recommendations implemented by the end of this year.

Darwin Semotiuk, chair of Western's Intercollegiate Athletics, wants to make the changes as soon as possible. "The hope here is that we can get moving along with this so that we don't lose another year in the planning cycle," he said.

Western's football head coach, Larry Haylor, said he supports the equal funding initiative in principle but worries certain sports may have to be dropped as a result. "In trying to get better, we don't want to gut the entire living organism right now."

Haylor said the football program cost approximately $83,000 last year, excluding the coach's salaries. However, Haylor added when gate receipts are factored in, the program is a money-maker for the university.

"There have been years where football cost us $80,000 to run and if the money [coming] from our gates were to be given to football, we'd be operating clear and free," Haylor said.

The disparity between the genders may not be as bad as the figures show. Women's volleyball coach Dean Lowrie said his program receives the same amount of money as the men's. Once hockey and football are factored out, Lowrie said he believes the funding is more equal. "I think that's where a large part of the discrepancy lies."

Haylor said Western has always been a leader in equality issues and the report is the next step. "I think we've come a long way and like the ad says, we still have a long, long way to go."

The report also recommends the university should fund athletics more directly and take the burden off of the students. As stated in the report, student activity fees account for 68 per cent of the athletic budget. "I think the strong recommendation was that central administration needs to treat athletics as an essential part of the student body here at Western and not treat us like some kind of auxiliary service like a bookstore or those kind of things," Lowrie said.

Lowrie also said this change could help all of the teams presently forced to do a lot of fundraising. He added his team ranked sixth nationally has to raise $10,000 a year just to remain competitive.

Belcastro said he hopes students will see the benefits of the new policy. "One of the things that's critical for me is that there's a positive environment created for our student athletes."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999