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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, April 22, 1998

  • Less crime and less towing
  • It'll be a deficit budget
  • Library fine amnesty begins
  • Registration and other notes
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Less crime and less towing

Crime declined on the UW campus in 1997, according to police statistics that show an overall decrease in the number of incidents from the two previous years. But UW police chief Al MacKenzie is not ready to let down his guard.

For the most part, the decrease in criminal acts was not the result of any changes in enforcement strategies, he said. "We just don't have the resources to do much changing." And seeing numbers drop for one year is not significant, MacKenzie added, noting he would have to see a decline for several years to identify any trends.

"Maybe it was a matter of just not having the people around who were doing those things before. The numbers could be skewed dramatically by the actions of one individual. It tends to be very cyclical."

A case in point is the reduction in sexual assaults in 1997. In 1996, five assaults were attributed to one man. There were none in 1997. On the other hand, the number of obscene or harassing phone calls more than doubled, from 23 in 1996 to 47 in 1997 -- again, believed to be the result of actions of one individual, currently before the courts.

Trends in 1997 showed a drop in property crimes, including theft, as well as lower numbers for assaults and indecent acts. These may in part be attributed to the introduction of the student security patrols in the Dana Porter Library, said MacKenzie, where there has been a steady drop in the number of indecent exposures since the start of the security program six or seven years ago. As well, the figures may reflect the impact of the WalkSafe program and improved lighting on campus, he added.

Increased use of surveillance cameras may have helped cut property crimes, he said, particularly in parking lot A and in the Village I common area. MacKenzie predicted more closed-circuit cameras will be appearing on campus, with the installation of cameras in the Student Life Centre currently under discussion. "With the reduction of resources and staff, strategic placement of cameras can be very useful in prevention." he said.

There has been a dramatic decrease in the number of cars towed on campus, from 1,480 in 1995 to 266 in 1997, while the number of citations issued jumped from 4,735 in 1995 to 8,354 in 1997. "Two and a half years ago, we bought a new office management system, allowing us to track offenders more efficiently," said MacKenzie. "We can now follow up on repeat violators very quickly, and don't have to resort to towing as much as we did before. We're giving warnings now that we can follow up, and we can fall back on ticketing rather than towing. We tow when safety is an issue."

Bucking the trends are noise complaints and "domestic/family dispute" stats -- mostly from Columbia Lake Townhouses and Married Student Apartments -- both of which have increased. The number of motor vehicle accidents has remained relatively constant, although personal injuries are down.

It'll be a deficit budget

It took all of twenty minutes yesterday for the senate finance committee to glance over the latest draft of UW's 1998-99 budget and recommend it to the senate for approval. And most of that time was taken up with general comments from the provost, Jim Kalbfleisch, who warned that more tough number-crunching lies ahead.

"The strategy I would propose," Kalbfleisch told the committee, "is to take this budget forward with that red ink in it. There aren't easy savings to be had."

What the committee approved is a budget with expenditures of $183,861,000 million in the year that begins May 1, 1998, and projected revenue of $183,002,000. "The $859,000 [deficit] is small enough that we can hope to recover it by fall," said Kalbfleisch. He explained that if the board of governors approves the budget at its June meeting, it will expect an update in October, and by that time there will be fall enrolment figures as well as new developments in other areas.

One committee member asked explicitly whether first-year enrolment next fall might be higher than the budget projects, bringing in extra money from tuition fees. Probably, said Kalbfleisch. "In a lot of areas we have an unprecedented number of applications," he said. "I suspect there'll be some overshooting."

He warned that expenditures and revenues are as close together as they are only because of a temporary saving, totalling $5.8 million, in pension plan premiums. In a couple of years that saving will be gone, and even though the accumulated deficit will also be gone -- a deficit that's being paid off at $3.1 million a year -- there will be a shortage of something like $2.7 million to be met somehow.

Library fine amnesty begins

An amnesty on fines at the UW library begins today, as part of the move to a new computer system, Trellis, for circulation as well as other library functions. (Trellis officially goes into operation next Tuesday.)

The official announcement says the library "will offer an amnesty on outstanding fines" from today through April 30: "All outstanding fines will be cancelled. Overdue material must be returned by April 30 to take advantage of the amnesty. Fines will apply as usual for any overdue material returned after April 30. If marks have been withheld because of outstanding fines, they will be released if the material is returned by April 30."

There are exceptions to the general amnesty. Fines for recalled books and reserve items will still be charged where they apply. In addition, outstanding replacement charges for long overdue or lost items are not included in the amnesty.

To repeat: return books by Thursday of next week, no fines. But if you don't get your books back before the amnesty is over, you'll be paying fines as usual again, starting May 1.

Registration and other notes

Registration for the spring term officially happens on the first three days of classes, May 4 to 6. But students who are in Waterloo now and want to get the paperwork done a little early can do so, says Carmen Roecker in the registrar's office: "Students can mail their payment, or they can pay in person at the cashiers' office, Needles Hall. There is a drop box available." May 4 through 6, registration will be in the registrar's office, also in NH, and pickup of schedules and fee receipts will be at the first-floor paging desk in NH, which is a change from the usual arrangement. Late fees begin May 7.

The University Club is marking today as "Staff Appreciation Day" with a buffet lunch -- "bring your assistant, your secretary, your co-workers, your friends -- your boss?" The tariff is $11.95 plus tax, the menu includes halibut in a roasted onion and lemon broth, and reservations go to 888-4088.

As renovations continue at Village I, the plant operations department sends word that steam, natural gas, hot and cold water, and heating will be turned off in the VI central complex for about a week, starting tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Scheduled time to turn things back on: 2 p.m. on April 30.)

The human resources department says there's an error in one of the Positions Available listings as it will appear in today's Gazette. The job of receptionist in the distance and continuing education office should have been listed at grade USG 4, not USG 5.

The monthly draw has been made in the Dollars for Scholars raffle, and the happy winner for April is Tim Ireland of the Davis Centre copy centre, the development office reports.

An announcement yesterday from Bruce Campbell of information systems and technology, quoted without interpretation because I'm not equal to interpreting it: "Watstar servers across campus are no longer using a separate pronet-10 fibre for inter faculty communication, rather they are using the campus IP network."

Finally -- I said yesterday that I hadn't heard of anyone from UW running the Boston Marathon on Monday. I've learned that there was (at least) one Waterloo runner: fourth-year applied math student Jeff Irwin, who, according to the Marathon web site, finished his 26.2 miles in 3 hours 4 minutes 44 seconds.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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