Put up or shut up
Editorial Board 2001-2002
Put up or shut up
Dear Dr. Davenport,
How much is a promise worth?
As you have repeatedly maintained, no student will be denied access to Western for financial reasons. This "promise" has generated a healthy amount of positive spin in the media for both yourself and the university.
You've stood before dignitaries, students and professors and, with your head held high and a grin from ear-to-ear, spoke at length about Western's committment to financial assistance for the students who make this university great.
It is now time to prove this promise was more than just a carefully-crafted publicity stunt.
According to the recently released salary figures for Western's six-figure club, it appears you made $237,275 in 2001 a raise of $12,275 from the previous year. Not too shabby for the president of a university that is raising tuition and slashing budgets because it is so poorly funded.
Your salary this year, as it has in previous years, places you among the upper-echelon of university presidents across the country, while students at this school struggle to make ends meet and graduate with massive amounts of debt.
From our point of view, your promise, your salary and the university's current budget restraints make for an interesting dilemna.
How does a university promise financial support, while boosting tuition, cutting budgets and giving its president a raise? Where are a school's priorities when debt-ridden Joe Business student has to give more, while the university's already well-paid president receives more?
How seriously can we take such a promise from a university with such skewed priorities?
Words are wonderful Dr. Davenport, but they don't pay the tuition bill. It's time to put your money where your mouth is.
The Gazette is officially challenging you to back up your oft-repeated promise with a little action.
By noon Friday,
April 5, The Gazette would like you Dr. Davenport to present Western's financial aid office with a personal cheque for $5,000 a mere two per cent of your salary.
We'll even send a reporter and a photographer to capture the happy moment and splash it on the front page for all to see.
Think of the message such a relatively small gesture would send to the student body. Dr. Davenport would not be a distant figure, making oodles of cash and utterly disconnected from the student body. Dr. Davenport would be a man who appreciates the plight of students and is willing to make personal sacrifices to ensure their well-being.
Five thousand dollars won't solve the larger problem of affordable education, but it will send an important message to students and prove your promises aren't empty words.
And, if nothing else, $5,000 will ensure at least one student receives the Western education you are so proud to promote.