The CCAC held a public meeting on Monday, March 9, 1998, in the Great Hall. There were four presentations on three topics:
1. Annual Report of the Student Services Committee, presented by Mr. Ryan Parks, Chair of the Student Services Committee
2. University Students' Council Organization and Scope of Operations, presented by Ms. Lucy Pinheiro, Vice-President Finance of the University Students' Council
3. Universal Bus Pass for Undergraduate Students, presented by:
Mr. Ryan Parks, President of the University Students' Council, speaking in favor
Ms. Sarah McLennan-Stapleton, speaking against
Extracts from the Compulsory Ancillary Fee Policy Guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Training:
A non-tuition-related compulsory ancillary fee is a fee which is levied in order to cover the costs of items which are not normally paid for out of operating or capital revenue. [Article 4]
Compulsory non-tuition-related ancillary fees ... which were in effect during the 1993-94 academic year can neither be increased above 1993-94 levels nor expanded to include new fees except through the implementation of a protocol which has been agreed to by representatives of the institution's administration and student government representatives in light of the Minister of Education and Training's announcement of March 23, 1994, and which has received approval from the institution's governing body. [Article 6]
The protocol will set out the means by which students will be involved in decisions to increase compulsory non-tuition-related fees or to introduce new ones. [Article 6]
The Student Services Committee Protocol was approved by the Board of Governors and the student government representatives in 1995. Under the terms of the protocol, the Student Services Committee (SSC) makes annual submissions to the Campus and Community Affairs Committee (CCAC) on changes or increases to fees relating to a number of ancillary operations detailed in the protocol, any user fees collected as a pre-condition for use of a student service, any new fee or service, and the direction and scope of student services. [SSC Protocol, Article 2.00]
According to the protocol, any fee increase or new fee that is instituted without the agreement of the SSC, will be considered to be contrary to the provisions outlined in the Ministry guidelines. [SSC Protocol, Article 3.00]
Consistent with the SSC Protocol the Student Services Committee presented its Annual Report to the Campus and Community Affairs Committee on March 9, 1998. The Report, attached as Annex 1, was presented by Mr. Ryan Parks in his capacity as Chair of the SSC. Other members of the SSC present were Mr. Sam Castiglione and Mr. Wally Gibson, who are also voting members of the Campus & Community Affairs Committee.
The Report of the SSC contained three recommendations which are shown in their original form on page 1 of the SSC Annual Report. After considering all of the information presented to it, the CCAC came to the following conclusions:
1) Non-Tuition-Related Compulsory Ancillary Fees for 1998-99
Recommended: That the Property & Finance Committee approve and recommend to the Board of Governors the Non-Tuition-Related Compulsory Ancillary Fees for 1998-99 shown in Annex 1-B, as recommended by the Student Services Committee.
The only change recommended by the SSC is to the fee relating to the Student Development Centre, from $63.20 to $66.35, an increase of $3.15 or 5%. It was reported that the number of students utilizing the services of the Centre has increased and, as a result, salary costs have increased. The Student Development Centre provides numerous services to students, including psychological counselling, career counselling, job placement, and academic counselling such as learning skills.
2) Student Health Services
Agreed: That Student Health Services should continue to collect data on insured and non-insured services until at least the end of April 1998, in order to allow the Student Services Committee to fully analyze the data. A subsequent report and recommendations from the Student Services Committee may follow, should the SSC deem one necessary.
In January 1998, segregated data on insured and non-insured services for the September 1996 to September 1997 period was made available. The Student Services Committee would like this data collected to the end of the current fiscal year to assist with any future analysis that may be required.
3) Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic
Recommended: That the Property & Finance Committee approve and recommend to the Board of Governors that a specific account for services rendered by the Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic be presented to Intercollegiate Athletics for the 1998-99 year,
That the flow-through from Campus Recreation to the Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic be phased out over a three-year period.
The Fowler-Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic (a.k.a. Athletic Injuries Clinic) annually receives $226,200 in support from Intercollegiate Athletics ($113,100) and Campus Recreation ($113,100). It is proposed that in 1998-99, "shadow accounting" for services rendered by Fowler-Kennedy to Intercollegiate Athletics be carried out. It is further proposed that monies provided by Campus Recreation to Fowler-Kennedy be phased out over a three-year period; however, the Student Services Committee has agreed that in 1998-99, the 1/3 phase-out amount ($37,700) will be retained by Campus Recreation to purchase new equipment. In future years, the Student Services Committee will review the fee collected for Campus Recreation, which could result -- for example -- in a reduction of the fee or use of the fee as a subsidy to reduce or eliminate Campus Recreation user fees.
The Campus & Community Affairs Committee congratulates the Student Services Committee on its fruitful deliberations this year and for taking on the additional challenges of designing a meeting template and developing a Statement of Guiding Principles for the Review of Student Activity Fee Funded Services.
Ms. Lucy Pinheiro, Vice-President Finance of the University Students' Council, provided the Committee with a detailed report on the structure of the USC, the scope of its operations, and the services it provides to undergraduate students, the University as a whole, and the London community. Her report was a follow-up to the October 1997 briefing she provided with respect to the activity fees levied by the USC and the way those fees are spent.
Ms. Pinheiro distributed comprehensive briefing notes, a copy of which is being distributed to all members of the Board (who did not receive a copy at the CCAC meeting), for their information and future reference.
There were no recommendations contained in this report, and thus no recommendations from the CCAC.
The University Students' Council recently conducted a referendum concerning a proposed universal bus pass for all full-time undergraduate students. This will come to the Property &Finance Committee as part of the proposed USC-assessed activity fees for 1998-99 this spring.
Mr. Ryan Parks, President of the USC, made a presentation in support of the proposed mandatory bus pass, siting the results of the recent referendum.
The referendum question was "Are you in favor of a mandatory, universal bus pass for full-time students at a cost not to exceed $75.00 per student, per year, from the months of September to April inclusive?"
The current cost of a September through April bus pass is $400 per student. The USC has negotiated with the London Transit Corporation (LTC) a $75 mandatory fee for all full-time undergraduate students, subject to approval by the Board of Governors. The $75 fee will give students unlimited ridership on all regularly scheduled LTC services from September through April.
The proposal has been developed over the last three years, in consultation with the LTC. In the spring of 1997, the UWO STATLAB conducted a telephone survey of 433 students. The objectives of the survey were to estimate the average weekly expenditure of UWO students for transit (LTC business) and the degree of support for a flat rate bus pass. The researchers concluded that the average weekly expenditure of those surveyed is about $5. The majority (59%) of those surveyed favored the bus pass system. There was a wide range of opinion as to what a fair price would be ($0 to $200), but the median was $75.
More recently, the process leading up to this recommendation included:
If the proposal is approved by the Board of Governors (as part of the USC activity fee), there will be further negotiations with the LTC about cost guarantees over time and guarantees of level of service.
In his presentation, Mr. Parks outlined the benefits of a universal bus pass system to UWO students, to the LTC, and to UWO:
Benefits to the students:
Benefits to the London Transit Commission:
Benefits to UWO:
Mr. Parks pointed out that universities in Kingston, Peterborough, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Windsor have similar universal bus pass systems which have been successful. The experience of those cities is that ridership has increased, and there is evidence of a slight shift of students to housing away from the immediate periphery of the campus. Mr. John Ford from the LTC advised the CCAC that the fees charged for bus passes in those cities range from $40 (Kingston) to $112 (Peterborough). Although the referendum question cited "a cost not to exceed $75.00 per student, per year", based on comments by Mr. Ford, it seems unlikely that the fee charged to UWO students will be less than $75. CCAC was informed that $75 will make the proposed system revenue-neutral for the London Transit Commission.
Ms. Sarah McLellan-Stapleton, an undergraduate student, made a presentation in opposition to the proposed mandatory bus pass. She provided a copy of the April 1997 STATLAB report which was distributed to CCAC members with the agenda for the meeting.
Ms. McLellan-Stapleton challenged a number of aspects of the STATLAB report:
When asked "Do you ever use LTC buses?" 64.6% of the respondents indicated that they do not use the bus to get to the University, while 35.3% responded that they do. This suggests that 64.6% of the students would be paying for 35.3% to get to campus and that this would be unfair.
Although 58.9% of the respondents indicated that they were in favor or strongly in favor of a flat-rate bus pass, the question did not indicate the dollar amount, and therefore there is no way of knowing whether they would still answer positively with a $75 price attached.
The sample surveyed included part-time student and graduate students, but neither group will be included in the mandatory universal bus pass plan (nor will they be able to opt-in, CCAC learned), and therefore should not have been included in the survey.
Ms. McLellan-Stapleton objected to use of the STATLAB survey as justification for sending the question to referendum and whether a referendum was the appropriate method of considering the question, given that only 5,000 - 5,400 students typically participate in a referendum. She speculated that many who voted in favor of the plan during the referendum do not plan to use the bus for travel to the University, but rather for transportation to work or on errands -- at the expense of all students at Western, including those who oppose the universal bus pass. Some students plan to drive their cars to the home of a friend near campus, park the car there, then take the bus onto campus. This will result in diminished parking revenues for the University and ultimately will affect students because the contribution of Parking Services to the central operating budget will be reduced.
Ms. McLellan-Stapleton urged the CCAC to reject the universal bus pass program or at least to provide an "opt-out" provision. She noted that there are precedents at Western for opting out, for example, the student health plan and student levies directed to certain Faculties.
In closing, Ms. McLellan-Stapleton asked that in making its recommendation the CCAC consider carefully the following points:
(1) What is the bus pass issue all about? Is it to enable Western students to get to school, or do their errands?
(2) Is it fair to ask all students to pay $75 for a bus pass when many already pay upwards of $200 to park on campus, or choose to walk to campus, or bike to campus?
(3) Why can't there be an opt-out option to the bus pass? Will too many people opt out? Doesn't that tell us something?
(4) What effect will the bus pass have on Parking Services revenue, and what impact will that eventually have on students?
Following the two presentations, members of CCAC had an opportunity to ask questions and Mr. Parks and Ms. McLellan-Stapleton made closing statements. In its deliberations following the public meeting, the CCAC agreed that it supports implementation of a mandatory universal bus pass.
Recommended: That the Property & Finance Committee support the introduction of a mandatory universal bus pass for full-time undergraduate students beginning in 1998-99, at a cost not to exceed $75.00 per student per year (September through April). This fee will be included in the student activity fee assessed by the University Students' Council.
In consideration of both presentations, the Committee concluded:
1) The USC referendum on the universal bus pass issue was properly conducted, had a sufficient participation rate (similar to those of referenda of the past), and 70.54% of those who voted were in favor. While acknowledging that some students have legitimate reasons for objecting to the plan, the Committee and the Board have no basis for challenging the will of the students on this issue.
2) An opt-out provision is not possible, since the $75 per undergraduate student per year provides the London Transit Corporation with a break-even position. This annual fee represents a savings of $325 per student per year as compared to the current cost of approximately $400 per year.
3) The effect on Parking Services revenue is not anticipated to be significant.