Volume 93, Issue 18

Thursday, September 29, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Mountains out of molehills

Mountains out of molehills

A wise man once sang, "The times, they are a changin'."

If that wise man were a Western student, he would know with an increasing rate of inflation and the high cost of living, everything must go up in price – including salaries.

Each year, the University Students' Council's Board of Directors have the potential of receiving a pay raise in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

This index measures the cost of living from year to year, as it fluctuates up or down. If the cost of living goes up, then according to a USC standing policy, so must the income of the Board members. The policy, however, does not stipulate a limit to which an increase can stretch.

At tonight's USC meeting, a social sciences councillor will put forth a motion which could make it mandatory for a student referendum to pass all pay increases which exceed the consumer price index.

In a few words, this motion is pointless. A greater sense of USC accountability will not be accomplished simply by allowing all students in on the decision. This motion would only encourage student referendums to take place on a vast array of minor issues and problems.

Addressing small, frivolous claims in the manner of referendums, would only waste time and money.

What should be examined first is the actual need for this type of student vote. With only 10 per cent of students turning out for elections, should the motion of USC salaries be relegated to a very apathetic student body?

There could be tremendous upheaval if uninformed student populations or even worse, spiteful student populations, take to the ballots and vote on issues of which they are not familiar.

An even scarier notion is if the motion tonight is passed, it will prevent the student-elected officials from doing the jobs we have appointed them to do.

Only twice in the last five years has the USC raise surpassed the CPI. In both cases, the councillors at the time felt the raise was appropriate enough to vote in its favour.

Students must realize the councillors who sit on the USC are representatives of the larger student body and should be trusted to make appropriate decisions where raises and student fees are concerned. The USC has already made themselves accountable by discluding those affected by the salaries from the vote. When we're talking about a relatively low amount of money, student suspicion should end there.

If this is not the case, then why are these councillors voted in?

With the present system, students should be assured someone who cared enough to run for a councillor position is listening to and weighing the issues at hand.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999