January 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 56  

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News Briefs

Cops, admin call conciliator
With contract talks broken down between Western’s thin blue line and the university administration, a conciliator is coming to the rescue so students can rest easy.

The University of Western Ontario Police Association is requesting conciliation to finalize their contract after talks broke down between the UWOPA and Western administration early last month, said UWOPA president Ian Baldock.

“We are willing to go back to the table,” he said, noting the source of the breakdown was salaries.

According to Baldock, officers with the Campus Community Police Service were paid 20 per cent less than an officer with a municipal police force in 1985; today, it is down to 35 per cent.

He pointed out many other trades on campus are paid more, such as the locksmith who makes $2,000 more than an officer with the CCPS. “[The goal is] to at least get on par with some of the other trades.”

The conciliator is scheduled to arrive on Jan. 27 and Baldock hopes an agreement can be reached. “We aren’t considered an essential service, like physical plant — [but] a strike isn’t an option yet,” he said.

—Marshall Bellamy

Calling all computer geeks
The Computer Science Students’ Association, in conjunction with the Western Electronic Gaming Association, is holding an overnight event called Western GIB Fest on Jan. 24. The all night LAN (local area network) gaming party will be held in the University Community Centre and actual gaming skill is not required for attendance.

“All prizes are mainly door prize-based, not tournament-based — so if you suck you can still win something,” said Joseph Ho, first-year representative for the CSSA. Over $8,000 in prizes will be given away throughout the night, including I-Pods, an X-Box and other gaming accessories, he explained.

“Every person that registers gets $35 in prizes already,” Ho said, adding the cost is $10 for WEGA members and $15 for non-members. Taxi transportation to and from the event will be provided for participants, he added.

Space for GIB Fest is limited, Ho said, adding more details are available on the CSSA website at www.cssa.csd.uwo.ca.

Ontario + Quebec = true love forever
There is a new opportunity for all Ontario students wishing to pursue master’s or doctoral studies.

The Ontario-Quebec Fellowship program is a government-funded initiative providing $10,000 at the master’s level and $12,000 at the doctoral level, to each of eight eligible Ontario students.

“The program is designed to promote exchange and cooperation,” said Dave Ross of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Through the program students will be given the opportunity to live and study in Quebec, he explained.

“Marks aren’t the determining factor — [but] preference is given to students wishing to study their second language,” Ross added. “It’s a good opportunity to explore each others’ cultures.”

In order to be eligible, student applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of Ontario with a minimum B+ average in their last two years of study. The deadline for application is Jan. 30, and students can apply online at http://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/not_secure/oq.htm.

— Jeremy McDonald

Textbooks for the masses
Do you hate waiting in line at The BookStore to buy textbooks? Does your wallet bleed after each trip to said book store? Do your eyes light up every time you see a flyer selling used textbooks?

An engineering student at Western has set up a free online book exchange program for students, whereby students can buy and sell each other’s used textbooks.

“[I] just started up [the program] as a project on the side [of my degree] to enhance my skills,” said Ryan Caudle, a third-year software engineering student.

Initially, Caudle sent the program to all the people in his class to make sure that it had no bugs.

At The Used Book Store, students pay a 25 per cent commission on textbooks, Caudle said, noting the book exchange avoids this.

“[The program has] 150 books registered so far; ideally we would like to have thousands,” he explained. Participants can post a book they are seeking or selling at www.westernbooks.ca, then contact each other by e-mail.

“This prevents me from handling the books,” Caudle said. “It has been going pretty well so far.”

—Laura Katsirdakis



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