WLUSU jumps gun

Wilfrid Laurier University unveiled $730,000 in Strategic Investment Funds (SIF) near the end of the summer and opened applications for groups to come forward with ideas of where to direct the money on campus so as to best reflect the university’s academic goals.

After submissions were closed Sept. 14, no word was released about what ideas were being considered until on Oct. 25 when the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) posted a bulletin on their website that their proposal, in conjunction with the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), projected to cost $51,000, had been rejected.

To date, no official announcement has been made by the university.

The proposal put forward by WLUSU and the GSA, if successful, would have used the SIF to allow 24-hour access to the library seven days a week for both semesters.

VP: finance Jim Butler confirmed that selections have been made from among 350 pages of proposals worth a combined $2.7 million, though since all applicants have not been notified, he could not comment on the choices.

I gave that information to the students’ union on a confidential basis,” he said, of the information released.

“I’m a little upset by that because first of all we haven’t announced anything. Secondly I did indicate to them to keep it confidential and there was still different funding to address the issue.”

The idea to have the library always accessible had been encouraged by WLUSU president Kyle Walker, who noted that while the library was open for extended hours during exam periods, there was more demand for library use at night every time other than during exams.

“During the exam period, students don’t need to study at night, they have all day,” he said, adding that classes and other commitments dominate student schedules during the semester, increasing the need for nighttime study spaces.

He noted that the Science Building used to be open for extended hours to students as a study space, a practice stopped due to vandalism. Having the library open continuously “would have tripled study space on campus that’s available 24-7 to students,” he said.

“I’m sure students would be a little concerned when they hear that it’s not a priority of the university. At least in this round of funding it wasn’t.”

Asked whether the funds could come from elsewhere, Walker said there are other options and that the university has “reserve funds tucked away in different places and contingency funds,” that could contribute to the initiative.

VP: academic Deb MacLatchy also explained the funds could be found elsewhere and that money could be allocated to base funding to keep the library open longer.

As for the SIF announcement, MacLatchy and Butler both said a list of initiatives chosen was forthcoming, possibly this week. “Until it’s formally announced there’s a process issue for us,” MacLatchy said.

“Everybody, deans, faculty, staff who put in proposals equally need to know — everybody deserves to find out at the same time.”