A worthy but lengthy pursuit

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 16, 2007 Ed Cartoon

Last week, University Students’ Council President Fab Dolan sent a letter to Western administration requesting operational control of the University Community Centre, for which 95 per cent of operational fees are paid by students. The USC currently pays approximately $900,000 per year to be in the building.

Obtaining operational control of the UCC is a worthy goal for Dolan and the USC, whose control of the building would entail many significant and tangible benefits. Developments like lower food prices in Centrespot and abolishing administration’s monopoly on textbook sales would directly benefit students.

The USC must consider the degree to which it wishes to pursue control of the UCC. Administration has considerable financial reason to maintain control and is unlikely to relinquish it easily.

As such, the possibility arises of a long-term conflict concerning the issue. Negotiations will need to happen and there’s a chance of legal conflict, though both sides undoubtedly wish to avoid such a measure.

The university’s administration will likely be tough to intimidate and the USC should prepare for an impasse. If the USC goes ahead with its goal as planned, it needs to be ready to see the project through and must be prepared for heated negotiations.

The USC also should consider the impact this issue will have on its relationship with administration.

The project is anything but an overnight whim; Dolan and Council have surely researched the issue diligently. They wouldn’t have sent the letter if they didn’t have good reason to believe they could succeed.

Another aspect to consider is the resources utilized by the USC during negotiations. Funding and a large amount of the president’s time will have to be dedicated to the issue. This may hinder the incoming president’s ability to follow through on election promises.

That said, pursuing the control shift means students must be selfless in the short term to benefit students down the road. While the benefits from USC control of the UCC won’t be immediate, they’ll be far more valuable; who wouldn’t trade a couple microwaves or an ATM for a drop in Centrespot food prices?

During elections, students should consider the USC presidential candidates’ abilities to pursue the project effectively. All candidates have pledged support to the endeavour and each claims to be best suited for it.

Dolan should be commended for his initiative. University Students’ Council control of the UCC could benefit students significantly. While Council must consider the risk of conflict with administration, rewards should be well worth it, even if they don’t come for a some time.

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