Candidates face the media-tors
By James Pugsley
The war for the presidency of the University Students' Council was filled with attacks and retreats yesterday as the candidates fielded questions from Western's media militants.
The forum, held in the University Community Centre's atrium and hosted by CHRW and The Gazette, gave each candidate an opportunity to clarify or justify specific campaign issues that may not have been focused upon since the election campaign began.
Questions for Christina Gural focused on her plans to improve Food Services at Western as well as maintain a 24-hour University Community Centre study program. Gural was asked about the feasibility and legality of creating new and better services at Western.
"Competition is an excellent force to increase the quality of food at Western," Gural said.
Scott Graham, who was disqualified from last year's presidential race because of fines and has since violated this year's Internet policy with his 'Am I Fit to be USC President' quiz web page, was asked how he could represent students with good judgement in the position of president.
"I like to say I learn from my mistakes," he said. "This year I have no fines and in regards to the web page I have made several apologies."
Saj Butt was asked about the lost revenue that would result from his proposed exam bank restructuring, a process that would create a cost-free system for retrieving exams.
"I never said I didn't want [students] to pay for exams," Butt said. "I just want to look at the feasibility of the exam bank and see if we can have an at-cost service."
For Kevin Mol, questions were raised as to why many of the ideas in his campaign were already in place by the current USC board.
"I never claimed all of my ideas to be my own, however they are all issues I stand behind," Mol said. "I'd like to see the USC offering more for students and I don't see it being done this year."
Roy Sproxton believed the USC mismanaged their decision to revamp the UCC and in keeping with his campaign, claimed the advent of corporate funding would be an accountable means to generate revenue at Western.
Candidate Brian Astl did not respond when alerted that his proposed Internet student resumé program, as outlined in his campaign, was already underway and is scheduled to begin in two weeks.
Mark Smiley, who wishes to create a charitable student organization that will raise scholarship money through gambling, does not believe establishing a charitable foundation for the USC would have any effect on the current USC charity effort.
The feasibility of proposed bus passes remained on the minds of Sean Martin's critics. Martin supports having a referendum to decide the matter and admits if it is too expensive he will leave an opt-out possibility for students who live in residence or have cars.
Ryan Parks said his proposal for a Maclean's commission would improve the perception of Western through the annual survey. He added it is important to set up despite any suggested discredit to the issue's validity.