Volume 95, Issue 16
Thursday, September 27, 2001
'Forgotten purple' find home with USC
By Kristina Lundblad
"Essentially, this motion is about creating opportunity for first-year students," said USC President Mike Lawless. "This is about two things -- opportunity and representation."
As it stands, it is almost impossible for a first-year, off-campus student to get involved as a USC councillor. This is a huge consitituency on campus that does not have a lot of opportunity to participate in council, he said.
Huron University College councillor Chris Sinal has been involved in student government since his first-year at Western. "I'm from London and had it not been for my involvement with Huron, there would have been no way to get into council," he said. "I speak whole-heartedly in favour of the motion."
Presently, first-year students who live in residence have opportunities to get involved through their faculty councils and within the USC as residence representatives, Lawless explained.
However, the only opportunity on council for first-year off-campus students is one off-campus student position on the First Year Student Caucus.
"By the end of this year, we'd like [this position] to be a reality," Lawless said.
Science councillor Melissa Groendyk agreed with the value of the position, but feared no one would come forward and take the opportunity. "I just don't want to create another useless position that no one will take," Groendyk said.
Lawless said students have already shown interest in the position and he said he believes the position will be filled quickly.
During debate, the motion's validity was questioned because it did not go through the Internal Review Committee prior to its posting. Council voted to suspend this procedural by-law and continue debate due to the pressing nature of filling the position.
"This is a great plan," social science councillor Paul Yeoman said. He explained that as a USC Info Team member during Orientation week, we spoke with many off-campus students interested in sitting on the USC, but due to the lack of opportunities, Yeoman had no answer to provide them.
"We should take a step in the right direction and support this motion," he said.
Doug Peck, Kings College Students' Council President said, "I think this is just a first step. At Kings, the majority of our first-year students are off-campus," adding he would eventually like council to go even further.
Lawless said this idea came to council's attention in the 2000 First Year
Students' Caucus report. A section of the document, entitled "The Forgotten
Purple," suggested the creation of such a position.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001