Volume 93, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 5, 2000


Editorial Board 1999-2000

An air of suspicion

Editorial cartoon

An air of suspicion

Hot on the heels of a Senate decision to start classes on the Monday following Labour Day instead of the usual Thursday, it seems as if Orientation Week is in danger yet again.

Administration is proposing a scenario which changes move-in day from Labour Day to somewhere in the middle of the week, probably Wednesday or Thursday. This effectively turns Orientation Week into nothing more than a weekend, giving students little time to become adjusted to their new surroundings, much less giving them an opportunity to meet people or get their bearings straight on campus.

Administration claims that because classes are now scheduled to start the following week, they don't want to keep Labour Day as move-in day, as this would turn O-week into a nine day event. It seems that they're so scared by the prospect of a full O-week, they're willing to reduce it to a paltry weekend. Does this sound familiar yet?

In October 1998, administration changed the move-in day from further back in the week to Monday after months of lobbying from then USC president Ian Armour and then USC orientation officer, SzeJack Tan. At the time, it appeared a battle had been won – however even then it was noted the university was unwilling to commit to a long-term deal.

At the time, even Western president Paul Davenport conceded that a Wednesday move-in was impractical. After all, under this suggestion, Western would join Nipissing University as the only universities in Ontario not to move in on Labour Day weekend. There's a reason for this. Parents can't afford to take time out of the middle of the week to assist in the move – Davenport already agreed with this fact. So what changed?

Not any of the practical facets of this debate. That leads one to assume that administration wasn't being sincere whenever they stated how important Orientation Week was and only decided to re-instate the week when they realized how many students were upset.

Last week's Senate decision to have classes start on the Monday following Labour Day instead of during frosh week was essentially made to accommodate teachers, who recognized the low attendance of these classes made them a waste of time. Perhaps administration saw an opportunity to create a scapegoat. While they certainly did not plan this sequence of events, it seems once they got the chance, they pounced on the opportunity and used the Senate decision as a perfect springboard for their own agenda.

So which is it? Does administration think, as stated, that a mid-week move in day is impractical and undesirable? Do they concede that a full Orientation Week is a valuable and useful tool that can potentially help students make the transition to Western? Or have they been waiting, all along, for that perfect moment to pounce and take away Orientation again?

It would certainly explain their refusal to sign a long-term deal last year.

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