USC's SRP decision sparks angry rants

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “USC says ‘no’ to Student Refugee Program levy”
Jan. 20, 2007

To the Editor:
Are you fucking serious?

Congratulations to the University Students’ Council on turning down funding for the Student Refugee Program. Our student council has successfully demonstrated to the world that Western is among the few Canadian universities that just don’t give a crap. University Students’ Council President Fab Dolan says he voted against the motion because of the “financial and legal implications” of raising the student fee, which would also require a referendum. I was interested to know exactly how much the SRP proposal would require raising students fees, as this wasn’t mentioned in Cigdem Iltan’s article.

Well, I found the USC motion online...and the proposed increase per student was 22 CENTS! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! How does that get rejected? The USC can put $ 1.2 million into renovating The Wave but can’t be bothered to ask if we support an extra 22 cents for a Student Refugee Program? For the love of God, get your heads on straight.

Aside from the so-called financial implication, according to the USC, it’s too big a legal risk to help refugees through SRP. We can’t possibly let the USC be, as Dolan said, “held liable for any actions taken by a refugee under this program.”

These students come to get an education. What exactly are you so terrified a student refugee might do? This reasoning is absolutely not enough to justify the USC’s decision to vote against SRP support. Excuse me while I stab myself in the eyes. I’m beyond frustrated with you people.
"Lindsay Anderson
Sociology III

To the Editor:
I’m a first-year international student, and I want to share my non-Canadian and hopefully somewhat more objective view.

The Student Refugee Program’s volunteers came to my residence one night and asked for people’s signatures. I supported their spirits and signed my name to the referendum. I believed the student body deserved the right to decide.

While the USC’s decision was disappointing, Fab Dolan’s comments were unacceptable. According to our president, most USC councillors seem very scared. They don’t want to be associated with things they think will bring trouble to them in the future. What do they expect refugee students to do? Did they forget about Canadian laws and university policies?
"Powei Chen

To the Editor:
The chance for Western to have the SRP debate seems stifled for good by the USC. The heart of this issue, as was rightly pointed out, is the council’s decision not to let students have their say or even explore how they feel about the SRP.

In addition to addressing the matter of whether the levy should exist, having students vote would have opened a discourse among the student body as to what our role as a community is in international development and whether Western’s image truly represents our ideals. Eighty-five per cent of the SRP programs operating at other schools have secured a student levy. Liabilities exist, but all these other schools worked through them and found a workable system.

Personally, I have no desire to pay student fees for a new rec centre, but I respect that a majority of students voted to implement this initiative. I wish the USC considered the SRP levy worthy of the same democratic process.
"Carly Ruderman
WUSC Western President 2006-07

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