Volume 90, Issue 74

Wednesday, February 05, 1997



Candidates in King's court

By Karena Walter
Gazette Staff

The racial makeup of Western's students' council was questioned at yesterday's presidential forum in the King's College cafeteria.

The current VP-communications of the University Students' Council, Jerry Topolski, asked each of the candidates how they would increase minority students' involvement in the USC.

Saj Butt said his election to president would be the first step. Many groups see the council as an elitist organization and themselves on the outside, he said. "Hopefully by me getting elected it will stir something in minorities to get elected."

A USC outreach program to minority groups on campus to let them know how they can get involved was an idea Ryan Parks proposed.

Brian Astl said the USC needs to attack the root cause of the problem by making its race-relations policy more effective. The policy has not been reviewed for years and he said he would set up a committee to examine the issue overall and find out why some groups are not as involved as others.

Equal opportunities for students have to be provided, Roy Sproxton said. And Mark Smiley said he wants to design programs localized to campus so students do not have to go outside the university for minority services they use.

Sean Martin questioned whether the USC does enough programming to make everyone aware of issues. He said there are lots of ethnic clubs on campus and the USC should get more involved with them and learn their concerns.

Christina Gural said she does not support allocating a specific number of seats on the USC for minorities but encouraged minority students to run for representation for their faculties. Scott Graham agreed minority students should run for seats and said the best way for minorities to have their voices heard is through their voting.

Kevin Mol said he thought barriers were a problem, not so much in the commissioner positions but in higher leadership positions on council and said those barriers need to be identified.

The King's forum was well-attended by students at first but cleared out as lunches were consumed and classes started. Candidates reiterated the importance of communication between main campus and the affiliates but made a dismal showing when they were quizzed on their knowledge of the college.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997