Students are disappointed in Western, and the USC is going to let the administration know it.
At its second meeting, the 2016/17 University Students' Council passed a motion to officially express its disappointment with Western's administration over how the university decided to tackle unsafe partying by moving this year's Homecoming weekend from its traditional late September date to Oct. 22.
The motion also tasked the USC student executives with urging Western to deal with the ramifications of the "Save HOCO" movement, a Facebook event with over 2,300 students pledging to celebrate on HOCO's original Sept. 30 weekend anyway. Lastly, the motion calls for the executives to formally request being involved in future Western decisions that significantly impact student life and to run alternate events on both weekends.
The Faculty of Social Science councillor who proposed the motion, Braden Phillipson, said this is an opportunity for the USC to be the voice for many students who feel frustrated with Western and to highlight to the university their abrupt decision could do the opposite of promoting student safety.
"There wasn't enough forethought for the fact that students will likely continue to celebrate Homecoming on the original day," Phillipson said. "This essentially goes back and nullifies all of the progress that's been made in the past with trying to make Homecoming safer and having those extra campus events."
The USC's president, Eddy Avila, also said the initiative shows this year's council is committed to truly representing students' voices.
"As a council, we collectively agreed on this, so it's something to look forward to and work toward," Avila said. "It just goes to show how invested our student council is in properly representing their constituents."
Notably, in recent years the USC's made a big push to launch "HOCO on the Hill," on campus events to offer students an alternative to street partying. Last year's DVBBS and Our Lady Peace concerts drew crowds of over 6,000 people and the London Police Services reported a 78 per cent drop in Homecoming-related criminal charges between 2014 and 2015.
This year, the USC will partner with Premiere Life to host a wet/dry event downtown, but the Save HOCO movement is complicating plans.
Western's affiliate colleges and the Richard Ivey School of Business are also not bound by the new HOCO date and will celebrate Homecoming on the originally scheduled weekend along with many Western alumni and reunion events.
COUNCIL MEETING RECAP:
- The USC passed a motion to change their most senior-ranking staff position from a general manager role to a chief operating officer. The role was changed in the spirit of giving each year's USC student executives more autonomy to set the organization's direction. The motion also gives the COO disciplinary power over the USC's managing directors whereas previously this power was held by the board of directors.
- The USC passed another motion to sign the National Council of Canadian Muslim's inclusivity charter. This year, the USC will actively advocate against Islamophobia.
- Allie Adamo, Student Programs Officer, reported an initiative to prevent first-year students from feeling pressured by sophs to buy Western or USC merchadise during orientation week.
Related: Taking the party out of Western
Updated at 2:33 p.m. on Jul. 11, 2016: The student council also passed a motion to establish a working group for the Gazette to examine its editorial and budgetary aspects and to make recommendations for the organization’s future direction.