Renovations vs students' tight budgets

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Western braces itself for budget cuts”
Jan. 16, 2009

To the editor:
I was extremely shocked when I read the article about Western’s current economic slump. Although I am not particularly shocked about the university being affected by the recession, their plan of action is what I am appalled by. I highly disagree with how they seem to be choosing to allot their money into certain areas such as renovations. It mentions in the article how Western’s endowments are $17.6 million less than their original value, which is money that is usually put towards bursaries and faculty benefits. Simply, this statement means they will most likely have to cut down funding in those areas.

As a student of Western who relies on these bursaries to aid in paying tuition, this statement concerns me. Initially, I thought to myself that there is nothing Western can do in this situation and the effects of this slump are inevitable. But then I continued on to read what the President of Western’s Faculty Association, Mike Carroll, said and I became furious. It seems to me that Western is spending whatever funds they do have left on the renovations around campus such as the University Community Centre and Talbot Theatre. Do not get me wrong, some of Western’s buildings are in dire need of a makeover, but these seem to be unnecessary renovations in a time of an economic recession. Even Mike Carroll agreed that renovations such as more classroom space in the UCC could be paused for now, as “it is not entirely clear why we need that extra classroom space.” So why are you doing it now?

Someone of authority needs to take a stand and voice an opinion on what the priorities of the university’s dwindling funds should be. I am extremely confused as to how authorities at the university might see it as acceptable that potential students in economic need may be turned away because building renovations are more important. I believe that one’s university degree is a bit more important than a fancy new building.
" Kayla Landen
MIT III

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