PRAVDA - Address from the President

March 17, 1997.

I’m sure that at least one or two of you were looking forward to seeing Ryan Parks here in a dress. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but if you wait two weeks you’ll see the president-elect in drag. However, for the next 44 days, I’m still the president, and the message I have for you today is so important that I have forgone my usual frock photo for something a little more stern.

On Thursday, March 6th I delivered a letter to the office of our University President, Paul Davenport. This letter is from the students of Western, and describes how frustrated and disappointed we have been with his administration. The letter lists the following six student proposals, and requests that he endorse them:

Freeze Tuition

1) Maintain the current levels of tuition fees adjusted to the inflation rate for 1996 and stop pursuing the deregulation of tuition;
2) Publicly denounce the use of new student loan programs as a mechanism for increasing tuition, and agree to withhold endorsement of a new student aid program until it has been approved by the students of Western;

Increase Accountability

3) Increase student representation on all University governing bodies and committees to 30%, and endorse a province-wide initiative to do the same at all Ontario universities;
4) Ensure University governing bodies and their committees meet in open session, and move into confidential only when dealing with personnel or legal issues;

Improve Student Services

5) Support millions of dollars in endowed student aid by endorsing the Student Endowment Fund initiative proposed by the University Students' Council;
6) Guarantee a three year continuation of the Orientation program and the Orientation Governance Board.

Alongside this letter, we launched the first ever

which can be found on the Internet at:

After just one week, over 1250 people have joined this peaceful protest. In addition to Western Students, we’ve received support from dozens of parents, staff, concerned citizens, high school students, and University students from across the country.

One of the most powerful components of this initiative has been your comments. I can’t even describe how impressed I have been with some of your sincere, heartfelt pleas and testimonials. As a result of your message, we have decided to schedule a rally.

The Rally is designed to keep the momentum going on the sit-in, encourage more people to join the sit-in, and to provide an opportunity for students like yourselves to share your stories and testimonials. Some examples of testimonials would be:

the rally will be held at:

Tuesday, March 18th
Concrete Beach
1:00 p.m.

I often hear from students that since they’ve come to Western, there have been times that they’ve just felt like a number. Whether it’s a student number, or a number they write on their tuition cheque. Well if we are just numbers, then we can use numbers to our advantage. Let’s demonstrate to Western, and to the world, that it’s not just a few students whining, but thousands of students who care very deeply about these issues. Please come out to the rally, and if you haven’t joined the sit-in yet, then please do. We’re all very busy, but let’s all try and make this a priority.

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