Wednesday night's University Students' Council meeting had little discussion and debate as the budgets of the USC, Radio Western and the Gazette were scheduled to be presented.
Eddy Avila, USC president, presented the USC budget. He said that the budget is a bit different this year as it emphasizes three core principles: clarity, strategy and respect for student dollars.
The budget presentation was designed to clearly show basic revenues and expenses, putting an emphasis on where funds are coming from and how they will be used. Avila also stressed that the budget aimed to parallel the USC strategic plan that focused on such key areas as student development, student experience and advocacy. While keeping in mind the financial burden of Western students, the budget allowed for a decrease in student fees.
Second to present was Andrew Barton, program director of Radio Western, on the radio's proposed budget. Barton began by outlining the accomplishments, goals and future grants that Radio Western is working towards. He also introduced a set reduction fee for Western students in the 2018 referendum while taking into account the necessary funds for equipment upgrades.
After Barton’s presentation, a prominent concern among councillors was that the budget included the elimination of full-time benefits and secondary pensions. The proxy for Khalid Backtash, engineering president, expressed concerns on behalf of Backtash that by cutting benefits, it would be difficult to attract talent.
Barton acknowledged that this was brought to their attention and that it would be an issue to be discussed in the future, citing that current staff are making do with what they have in place now.
The Gazette’s budget was also presented by Hamza Tariq, editor-in-chief. The main points were that the Gazette is working towards a digital-first mentality and has cut down the budget to reduce student fees by four dollars.
Further budget discussions and approval are scheduled for USC meetings on March 1 and March 8.
Following budget presentations, Jamie Cleary, University Students' Council vice-president, presented two advocacy policy papers for ratification: Student Transit in London Advocacy Paper and the Mental Health at Western University Paper. Both motions passed unanimously with only several clarification amendments.