Volume 90, Issue 71

Thursday, January 30, 1997



CANDIDATE PROFILE: Saj Butt - Getting back to council basics

By Joshua Budd
Gazette Staff

Average is good in Saj Butt's world, and Butt wants to represent the average student in this year's elections for University Students' Council president.

"I'm an average student and I feel the average students have been overlooked in the politics of the USC," he said.

Butt said he believes there is a lack of communication between the USC and the student population. He said a few students are aware of the USC and its functions, however, the average student around campus has become indifferent. As a result, the needs of the average students are not being met.

"We need a major overhaul in terms of restructuring and outlook at the USC," Butt said. "We can do this by bringing [the council] down to the grassroots level and giving students a chance to inject their wants and needs.

"By having a personal connection with the students you want to do what's best for the students."

Restructuring the exam bank is number 1 on Butt's list of things to do as president. He said students should not have to pay for copies of old exams.

"The exam bank has been left alone by the students' council. It makes a profit so nobody has bothered to change it," Butt said.

After tuition and residence fees, students don't always have the $5 to $20 they may have to pay for exams, Butt said. "The problem is not just the cost of exams. It's the principle that students have to pay extra after tuition and other fees. In other universities it is mandatory for professors to provide old exams with answers for the students."

Included in Butt's platform this year is a suggestion to diversify PRAVDA and make it more representative of not only USC functions but all student groups. He said this is necessary if the USC is going to improve communications with the broader student population.

Another idea unique to Butt's campaign is the creation of what he calls a "Gripe Wall." He said he wants to place blank boards or posters around campus to get student feedback. He added this will give students free forum to make their ideas known to the USC.

The one stumbling block Butt will have to overcome in this year's campaign is his lack of experience in the USC. However, he said his experience last year as a residence assistant in Saugeen-Maitland Hall and a don in Medway Hall this year more than makes up for anything he could have learned on the USC.

"A lot of people tell me I don't have a lot of USC experience. But everyone makes choices. I chose to be staff in residence," Butt said. "As staff in residence I've dealt with students. I know their concerns and I've tried to help them."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997