Historic donation dissed
Students complain about med school name change
By Laura Katsirdakis
The recent $26 million donation by Seymour Schulich to the
faculty of medicine and dentistry is not without controversy;
yesterday a group of medical students met to discuss the ethics
of a public institution accepting a large private donation
and the lack of student input into the decision to change the
faculty’s name to The Schulich School of Medicine.
The discussion was organized by a group of medical students
and facilitated by Jeff Nisker, a professor of obstetrics,
gynecology and oncology, and the co-ordinator of bioethics
at the faculty of medicine and dentistry.
According to Nisker, the donation is acceptable because the
money is being used for students and the school is being named
after a person rather than a corporation.
The intent of the donation — by giving some students
scholarships — is to increase accessibility to the school.
The donation will provide 60 undergraduate medical students
with $20,000 a year each in tuition and educational expenses,
and 50 graduate students will also receive $15,000.
“The quality of the degree will be lower with a private
person’s name on it — the chance of getting this
scholarship doesn’t offset this loss of quality,” one
“Students are only here for four years, but we pay $50,000
a year — students are major stakeholders, we should have
some kind of voice,” another audience member said, pointing
out that administrators like the dean may be gone in five years,
but students, faculty and staff will always be at Western.
“Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy’s
name on my degree?” a student asked. Several students
pointed to the allegedly questionable ethics of Schulich’s
business dealings when contemplating this issue.
“I am only here because of people who generously gave
me scholarships,” said another student, pointing out
that medical school is a serious financial burden to some.
Azad Mashari and Agnes Toth, both first-year medical students
who helped organize the discussion, said the main concern is
that students were not consulted.
A petition, circulated among audience members, acknowledged
the varied opinions of signatories, and asked that the Apr.
16 Senate meeting to ratify the name change be pushed back
to allow student discussion and input. It also asked “that
since this donation affects all UWO Faculty of Medicine and
Dentistry students — past, present and future — they,
as major stakeholders, should be given access to all information
necessary to have an informed debate on the issue, and should
be involved in the decision-making process.”
“Accessibility issues start way before med school,” Toth
said, in response to the argument that the donation would increase