Western University's administration works on a simple philosophy: when the going gets tough, the students get ignored.
Take Homecoming, for example. Or the relocation of Homecoming into the frigid, midterm-laden weekend of October 20-22.
At this month’s University Students' Council meeting, USC President Tobi Solebo said he has made students’ position — who are nearly unanimous in support of the original date — clear to the administration. The admin has already booked the next two Homecomings for October.
By the nature of the admin's relationship with students, they are seldom obligated to respect the will of the student body. The good the admin does do is of benevolence. If their good-will fails, there's little between the administration and their end game, least of all students.
What's worse is that we're normally only at Western for four years. As such, civic engagement is negligible.
So, if things get real, the admin need only wait: with each year, the student body recycles and forgets, and Homecoming’s great leap forward into October will become the status quo.
If we do remember, some of us will still try to do something about it, but if you want too much, you are no longer a stakeholder — you’re an obstacle.
In fact, thousands of students are defying the administration's image rehabilitation campaign to curb Western's party-school reputation. FOCO, or fake Homecoming, will happen this Saturday.
A determined administration can easily overstep an obstacle. Students are being as difficult as they can in their resistance to Homecoming’s ugly twin. But the admin will continue to discourage attendance in the short-term and plan for the long-term, hesitant acceptance of the October Homecoming that no one wants.
Thus far, the short-term strategy has been intimidation theatre.
A statement released by president Amit Chakma warns that students will be slammed with the Criminal Code and the Code of Student Conduct should they violate them.
One party-planner from King’s University College received multiple messages from the school, which escalated to a dean waiting outside his lecture. Another student was invited to the campus police station to “discuss” a Facebook comment they made about FOCO months prior to the weekend of the event.
I urge you all to hold no hope for "discussion" on this issue. Certainly not with the professionals who sat around the adult’s table and decided, in lieu of student approval, what the students' school should look like.
What is the recourse? Perhaps a protest, maybe on University College Hill — but I doubt anyone would come once it gets rescheduled to exam season.