Cooperation, not confrontation, is key

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Last month, Western’s administration committed $1.7 million over the next four years to the funding of Mustang Athletics, a landmark deal that agrees to contribute to 18 formerly non-funded teams.

The deal marks a degree of cooperation between administration and Intercollegiate Athletics that has been absent in recent years, a sign of improved relations between the two sides.

While IA is often criticized for stretching the budget in its tiered system of funding, they and administration should be praised for working together and addressing concerns. The increase in funding, especially to lower-tiered sports, is exactly what students and athletes have been seeking.

The deal also marks a growing trend towards increased cooperation between IA and other prominent organizations on campus. Western Sport and Recreation Director Michael Lysko worked hard with former University Students’ Council President Fab Dolan last year and was successful in improving relations between IA and the USC. Incoming USC President Tom Stevenson should be a good candidate to continue this work.

The school’s varsity athletes have benefited tremendously from this mentality, which is why I’d like to see a similar trend between the USC and administration.

While administration and the USC have both made strides by cooperating with IA, relations between the two are as rough as ever, and that needs to change if they’re really to act in the best interests of students.

Essentially, both sides need to take a hint from IA, which seems to have realized students suffer when it’s preoccupied with politics.

This concept seems lost on admin and the USC who, among other issues, are currently going toe-to-toe over control of the University Community Centre.

The issue is important, and could benefit students considerably, but a deal won’t get done if the two sides can’t learn to work together.

In a university where the higher-ups are often viewed as disconnected from students, the USC is the organization from which administration might be able to benefit the most.

So why fight and bicker? Why play hardball in negotiations? When dollars, cents and public perception come before the best interests of students, everybody suffers.

It’s understandable that both sides are businesses who have to look out for their own, but at the end of the day, aren’t students the top priority?

IA has done well for our athletes through work with other organizations on campus, and kudos to administration and the USC for their work with Mustang Athletics.

The next step is to see admin and the USC working together.

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