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Volume 90, Issue 74

Wednesday, February 05, 1997



CANDIDATE PROFILES: Ryan Parks - Restructuring for the better

By Jason Ménard
Gazette Staff

Ryan Parks is not just a talking head.

Although Parks' website features his disembodied, rotating noggin, he feels his campaign platform is firmly rooted on the ground.

"I don't want to seem pessimistic but I also don't want someone to make [campaign] promises which they can't deliver," he said. "I made sure I checked with people who would know if I could do what I was promising so I wouldn't be promising things I couldn't deliver."

The fourth-year honours political science student said his experience on Western's Board of Governors has helped him understand the parameters of the University Students' Council's president's influence. However, he has also seen the dynamic of the Board and feels he can exploit it in favour of students.

"The students' power base is not as strong as it should be," he explained. "However, we can make it stronger by enlisting support from the alumni and faculty in issues we want to put forth.

"I'm not saying they'll agree with us all the time, but even if they only agree once then that's one more battle the students have won."

Part of his plan is to create a student perspective newsletter for all members of the Board of Governors and the Senate to inform them on the students' perspective on issues.

"This way they can get the information and see our stance before it gets to the floor of Senate – when they'll only have five minutes to look at it because that's the first time they've seen it."

Parks has also kept his campaign pretty close to home. He explained the ideas in his platform are his and he uses a small but trusted and diverse group as a sounding board for his campaign promises.

Voters will have to forgive Parks if he allows a smile to creep across his face when people ask him about his plans to revamp the current portfolios of the USC's vice-presidents. He knows it's been bandied about ad nauseam in the past but he feels his idea will work.

"Whereas the VP-student affairs and VP-student issues are currently stuffed, I feel there's room for adjusting and refining," he said. Parks would like to see the VP-student issues renamed to VP-academic/external and focus on academic and lobbying issues, while the VP-internal, né VP-communications, would assume the responsibility for the issues side of the portfolio.

"Because the VP-student issues is so involved with [lobby groups] it's difficult to maintain contact with the issues," he said.

"I think this fits into the larger scope of my platform – my vision," Parks explained. "The USC has a great infrastructure but we need to focus on education and student issues in a broader context."

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