New budget aim: more programming for students

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Student Fees 2008/2009 Pie Chart

After some deliberation, the current University Students’ Council has made the first step towards ratifying next year’s budget.

Traditionally passed with little debate, the choice to move to a confidential session angered some councillors.

Andrew Beach, an affiliate senator from Huron University College, was one of the non-voting members of the USC who spoke out against the motion, though he eventually abstained.

“Any non-voting member didn’t have any input into the budget,” Beach explained. “If [Western] had chosen to do that I think student senators and Board of Governors members would be upset.”

During the meeting, the USC Board of Directors explained the move was based on private human resources issues. The board also pointed out other government bodies, such as the Canadian Parliament, engage in similar behaviour.

As for the budget itself, USC VP-finance David Singh highlighted three important items: “One, we’re finding a way to reinvest into students. Two, we are strategic and forward thinking, and three, we feel it’s a budget that furthers the mission of the USC.”

For reinvesting in students, Singh pointed to Friday’s appearance by Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, and the hiring of another student organization advisor to manage Western’s clubs system.

As well, profits from student-run operations, including the profits from the 140,000 entrees the Wave sold last year, go towards student programming.

Although the Wave sold an enormous volume last year, Singh said, it did not break even.

“[The Wave was] closed for what we had anticipated to be four months. It turned out to be the better part of five months and that fifth month was September " a massive month for us,” Singh explained.

Singh said the USC expects the Wave will make a healthy profit of over $40,000 this year, thanks to initiatives like a targeted night service, catering and a drive to get student-run formals held at the restaurant.

Students should also note a $17 increase on their student fee thanks to the 2006 referendum on the Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre.

The fee sparked debate before council, with some councillors feeling the USC was not bound by the vote. However, the USC board, led by President Tom Stevenson, explained the USC had a responsibility to uphold the decisions of previous USC councils, effectively ending the dissent.

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