Volume 95, Issue 19

Wednesday, October 3, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Let's talk BOG

Editorial Cartoon

Let's talk BOG

It is difficult to understand something of which you have no idea. Just ask the average Western student about this school's Board of Governors.

As the Oct. 17-18 Board of Governors election nears, the importance of this little-known, yet immensely powerful board returns to the spotlight. Currently, the board has spots for two undergraduate students, as well as one graduate student, a number of faculty members, senior Western administrators and a slew of external members such as London's Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco.

Western students should understand how BOG works simply because the body wields such authoritative power. In the simplest terms, BOG is ultimately responsible for the management and control of the university, its property and its affairs.

Specifically, BOG appoints the senior administration, sets salaries, fixes tuition fees and establishes regulations that govern the use of university buildings, expansion and budget.

Despite playing a crucial role in the daily lives of Western students, BOG remains largely unknown and misunderstood. But whose fault is that?

It is hard to blame students for not knowing how BOG works, especially when it seems like such a clandestine committee. Although students should pro-actively try to understand the inner workings of their university, this becomes a challenge when there is little explanation of BOG listed in any of the university's major publications, including the annual Academic Calendar or the Registration Handbook.

There is also little BOG information listed in the Westernizer, the student planner provided to all full-time undergraduate students by the University Students' Council.

How then are students to understand BOG and its directives if those directives are not readily available to them?

BOG needs to come out of the closet and stop hiding from its student constituents. No other board on this campus with such power has the luxury of anonymity, so why should BOG?

As for the two undergraduate positions on the board – are these enough? Two hardly seems representative of the undergraduate student population on this campus and it is unrealistic to think student governors can affect real change on behalf of the student body if there are only two of them.

Could it be that the presence of a student voice on this board is sheer tokenism?

The upcoming election is incredibly important for students. Although one might argue the two current BOG positions are not sufficient, most would agree two are better than none.

And if students were to know more about BOG and subsequently this election, perhaps more would cast their vote, giving student governors greater support and eventually more positions on the board and a greater voice on campus.

Western's Board of Governors needs to put greater effort forward to reach students because students are, in the end, the ones who feel BOG's decisions the deepest.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001