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Woods Schoolers Have Difficulty Finding Representation

Because They Do Not Pay Activities Fee, WCAS Students Often Miss Out

Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Woods College of Advancing Studies (WCAS), a school within the University through which students can take night classes, earn professional certificates, bachelors and masters degrees, and enroll in non-degree programs, lacks a representative in UGBC Senate. Students are also unable to vote in UGBC elections because they do not pay the $298 student activity fee other undergraduate students pay.

The college, which is comprised of approximately 750 students, 150 of them in the masters program, caters mostly to commuter students in their early 20s, according to Rev. James A. Woods, S.J., dean of the WCAS. Most of these students have attended other institutions and have different needs than a typical Boston College undergraduate. "We serve the metropolitan Boston community," he said.

Undergraduate students in the other colleges at BC pay a fee that allows them to participate in and help fund organizations on campus. The restriction of WCAS students from voting and running in UGBC elections is a rather specific one, contingent upon the fact that they do not pay this fee.

"In general, we wouldn't prohibit students from participating [in other clubs]," said Mark Miceli, associate director of the Student Programs Office (SPO).

The restriction would not necessarily extend to appointed positions within UGBC. Although Miceli said he did not believe there was a student from the WCAS in UGBC at the moment, he could see a case in which a student in one of the traditional undergraduate programs who had already been in UGBC but transferred to the WCAS might continue to be involved.

"We don't necessarily keep track of that," Miceli said.

Miceli explained that one of the issues is that students in the elected positions, such as those of UGBC Senate, are elected based on class year, and sometimes WCAS students are not easily defined within the four-year college system. In addition, students in these positions are deciding what to do with the funds provided by the fee.

"We don't want students who don't pay the activity fee to represent students who do," Miceli said.

Students running must fill out an intent form with their BC ID number and class year, so a WCAS student would not be eligible to apply at the moment.

"We do a check on anybody who runs for office. If you join a club, there's no kind of check," Miceli said.

Students are generally encouraged to participate in what they would like to be involved in. "As a rule, we don't want to limit participation in any of our activities," Miceli said.

Miceli said that this is a relatively old rule, and that no one has looked over it in a while. He could envision the possibility of creating a seat for WCAS students, and having those students pay the fee. "We haven't had a student approach us about running," he said. "It just hasn't been an issue in the past. If there were students in the Woods School who wanted to have a fuller experience, we'd have to look into that."

Woods mentioned that a former Woods School student, Robert Anzenberger, who now teaches economics in the Woods School, was involved in UGBC during his time as a student about 40 years ago. Since then, the campus has become much more residential. Miceli said that, in his time at BC, WCAS students have not been able to vote or run for office.

"The demographics of the school have changed dramatically," Miceli said.

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