Volume 90, Issue 75

Thursday, February 06, 1997



Council questions federal representation

By Sara Marett and Donna MacMullin
Gazette Staff

Although last night's University Students' Council forum for the presidential candidates was somewhat akin to catching a rerun of The Price is Right, one event was worth watching before flipping the channel.

In light of ongoing controversy over Western's high student fees, candidates running for USC president were asked to address the issue of Western's leadership in the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations – a federal lobby group of which the university is a member.

The Western student body currently pays $17,000 to CASA – the highest fee the alliance can charge for a school to be a member.

Ryan Parks said he would like to see the USC continue to participate in CASA-sponsored events and campaigns. "I am committed to the organization and would like to see a person in the position of VP-academic/external have a larger role in extending lobbying," he said.

Mark Smiley said he would like CASA to have a louder voice. The USC also needs to pay more attention to issues on the provincial level – particularly with issues which attract broader attention, he said.

Kevin Mol agreed and said he would also like to encourage the lobby group to be more vocal. He also expressed his concerns of not being able to obtain information from CASA's website.

Sean Martin felt awareness among students needs to be more encouraged for the alliance to have a stronger presence. "I don't think most students know of their involvement with CASA," he said.

Brian Astl said he would like to see Western pay more attention to the lobby group and the USC should rely on the federal affairs commissioner to take this initiative. "They are there to represent Western on a federal level – let's give them the latitude," he said.

Roy Sproxton felt the USC does not really have a direct involvement with the organization and therefore said he could not make a suggestion to increase leadership.

Scott Graham said he would like to see an increased member drive for CASA and solicit a student approved plan. "The more members the more solid the policy," he added.

Christina Gural said she would also like to see more campaigns on the provincial level and would like to work closely with the director of CASA to do so.

Saj Butt reinforced his stance which emphasizes how the USC has overlooked the needs of regular students. "We should be more worried about what affects students right here and now," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997