First peep at veeps
By Kevin Gale
Potential University Students' Council vice-presidents went public with their campaigns last Friday in CentreSpot.
This was the only chance for the student population to hear the candidates before elections on March 22 at the USC annual general meeting.
Candidates for VP-communications were asked how they would interact with students throughout the year.
Kevin Mol said in addition to physically asking students for input, he would survey students on various issues.
It is important to go to residence and affiliated college students to make sure information gets to them, Dan DeKerpel said, adding the best way to do that is to attend their meetings.
"I want to solve the mystery of the disappearing info sophs," Jamie Deans said, adding he would accomplish this by having the USC info sophs involved year-round, not only during Orientation Week.
O-week was the issue facing four candidates running for VP-student affairs, as they were asked about the academic focus of the week.
Meghan Symsyk said this year Western's dean's were not supportive of O-week efforts, but added the administration has backed the efforts and work will have to be done to get everyone involved.
There could be orientation with faculty during the day and with residences at night, Chris Graham said.
Mark Smiley said if the administration wants an academic O-week, students should make sure they are accountable during the first two days of classes.
Saj Butt said students should be made aware of what services are available to them in those first two days of classes.
The proposed increase to the University Students' Council Board of Directors' salaries became an issue for VP-finance candidates.
"[The Board] is foregoing their education and an opportunity to work full-time. It has been justified and that is the reality," Lucy Pinheiro said.
Sean Martin said he has no personal interest in the salary but added comparing it with tuition increases is unfair because students have little control over them.
Tuition and the salary increase are not related and the salary increase better reflects the work put in by the board, Scott Graham said.
"The pay doesn't equal the work," Douglas Fry said, adding it is ultimately up to the council to decide the increase a decision he said he would support regardless of the council's vote outcome.
VP-student issues candidates were asked about getting outsiders involved in the USC at different levels.
Sam Castiglione said it would be an injustice to shut out those without previous USC experience as they offer a unique perspective in their work.
"Their first experience with council shouldn't be running for a VP position," Ben Thornton said.
There is an image the USC is elitist, Brad Johnston said, who then encouraged every student in the CentreSpot crowd to go to the USC office and apply for a commissionership.
Karen Richards, a candidate for student issues, was unable to attend the forum due to prior work commitments.