Volume 95, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
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UWO Muslims celebrate Ramadan

Ombuds listens to our bitchin' and moanin'

U.S. offers bounty for Osama

'Funshawe' might get call centre

Ontario researchers shed new light on AIDS

News Briefs

Ombuds listens to our bitchin' and moanin'

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

She gets paid to hear Western students bitch and now she has decided to bring their concerns to the public.

Ombudsperson Frances Bauer has released the annual Ombuds report for 2000-2001, detailing how she and those in her office have handled the various concerns of the Western community.

Often unnoticed, the Ombuds office is meant to handle any inquiries students may have about life at Western.

Bauer routinely hears problems from students – ranging from issues with grades to problems with tuition and financial aid assessments – and then does what she can to settle the problem fairly for all of those involved.

"A lot of the people who come into my office feel that they've been bullied by a person in a position of power," Bauer said.

"Essentially, we try to determine if the person has been treated fairly. It's different than whether they've been treated legally," she said.

While main campus undergraduate students used the service the most last year, with a 2.7 usage percentage, only one per cent of affiliate college students made their way to the office.

"I think there's a need to publicize the service more," Bauer said. "I've met a lot of students who say to me they wish they knew about us during their first-year or last year."

Western vice -provost and registrar Roma Harris said that while the low usage rate at the affiliates is eye-catching, it may actually be a sign of Brescia, Huron and King's colleges doing something right or simply having less problems.

Between August 2000 and July 2001, Bauer dealt with 598 cases, down from 718 cases the previous year.

Sera Vavala, University Students' Council VP-campus issues, said, for the most part, she has been pleased with the job Bauer has done.

"She's been here for quite awhile," Vavala said, noting Bauer's term dates back to the mid-80s. "She's really learning to adapt to students."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001