February 12, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 74  

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Students say promised graduate payment killed

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

The faculty of graduate studies has notified some graduate students that a scholarship guaranteed to those who maintained a 78 per cent average will not be delivered due to a lack of funds, although administration would not confirm or deny the allegation.

“We received an e-mail that said ‘your nomination for the winter 2004 [Special University Scholarship] was declined by the faculty of graduate studies because the budget for this scholarship has been exhausted’,” said a student, who, as part of a group of students, wished to remain anonymous. All of the students received the same e-mail.

The student noted the e-mail was received in late January past the Jan. 7 deadline for graduate tuition payment.

“We pay $2,000 a term, and we have three terms [in total] — we only take one class over two years. What are they exhausting their budget on?” the student asked. “We don’t know where our tuition is going.”

“We plan our budgets along this scholarship,” the student said, noting the amount guaranteed by the SUS is $1,000 per term and is given after the students have paid their tuition upfront. “We believe we should be compensated for that money, that we shouldn’t pay our tuition.”

“How are they allowing more students into the faculty when they guaranteed this scholarship [to graduate students] who maintain a 78 per cent average?” the student asked.

The student did not know how many graduate students were having the same problem.

The associate dean of graduate students, Anthony Vandervoort, sent an e-mail to The Gazette, when asked to respond to the students’ concerns.

“Of course FGS would not wish to discuss an individual case due to confidentiality issues, but dean [Martin] Kreiswirth and I would be happy to meet with you at some time to describe in general terms graduate student support at [Western], and the exciting new initiatives taking place at the university, provincial and federal levels,” the e-mail said.

When told the students had spoken anonymously in a group, Vandervoort still declined comment. “You can see there’s a minimum average as criteria for funding students. That is what I want to point to you,” he said.

When asked to comment on the issue of funding being exhausted for the SUS, Vandervoort said “that could be true as well,” but refused further comment.

Western’s acting VP-administration, Jane O’Brien, declined comment stating she did not know enough about the situation. Greg Moran, Western VP-academic, also declined comment.

Daryl White, president of the Society of Graduate Students, said no students had approached him with concerns.



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