Volume 90, Issue 75

Thursday, February 06, 1997



CANDIDATE PROFILE: Scott Graham - Getting in step with the presidential campaign

By Laura Koot
Gazette Staff

Scott Graham's short-cropped hair and self assuredness may be reminence of his experience in the armed forces – or maybe it has something to do with his desire to win an election.

His army experience has taught him to pick his fights and this is not a lesson Graham is taking lightly in the race to be the next University Students' Council president.

"I realize you can't win all your battles. You have to choose what issues you would stand up and fight for."

And that is exactly what Graham is doing. "I don't want to get mushy or anything but I think I can improve the quality of life at Western."

How is this 24-year-old honours chemistry and environmental science student going to represent the student needs of 22,000 undergraduates? Graham addressed three areas which he feels need attention, the first being access to education.

"If we don't take a stand on tuition, the government will think we don't care and tuition will skyrocket," Graham explained, adding he has friends who have had to leave university because they could no longer afford it.

Graham advocates a student-improved income contingent loan repayment program and opposes deregulation.

The role of academics and changing the perceptions people have of Western is another area Graham addresses. "The university has a bad reputation because of the way we run O-week. We need to make a change and we need to make it appear we have made a change."

Setting a 65 per cent average cut-off for sophs, providing faculty sophs, educating on library use and making first-year students aware of help centres and other resources on campus are some suggestions.

"Shipping students into two days of classes is not the answer for academic focus," he explained. "The administration is trying too hard to kill the party image and they aren't being flexible.

"What I am proposing is a compromise."

Graham's third priority is to ensure the council provides cost-effective services to help students get through their educational career. "It is important to balance the political and the corporate sides to be an effective president."

The importance of doing an external corporate review was a point stressed by Graham. "The USC is three times the size it was six years ago," he explained. "Someone has to look into this."

Working as a camp counsellor is an experience Graham said will prepare him for being president because he had to learn to keep the parents and children contented. "It is difficult to make everyone happy," he said, explaining the same skills would be needed to oversee council.

"It's tough but you just have to soldier on, put your left foot in front of your right and carry on."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997