Mud-slinging time: Forum turns into confrontation
By Sara Marett
The University Students' Council presidential race turned ugly last night as candidate Jarmila Zakova accused Ian Armour of calling her a "dumb blonde."
During her opening remarks at a forum at Essex Hall, Zakova said, "I was told today that Ian Armour called me a dumb blonde and if there is one thing I have to say about him it is that he is a bull-headed candidate."
She then attacked elements of Armour's platform such as a student-written position paper to be presented to Western's administration. "He is a bureaucrat and a paper pusher with no real ideas and no leadership skills. If you are going to vote for someone, vote for Brett Slade at least he has some original ideas."
At this point, she was interrupted by deputy returning officer Tim Gibson and asked to direct her comments to her own platform.
Armour was the next candidate to speak and responded to Zakova's accusations with a shocked expression. "I have no idea what Jarmila is talking about. I made no such derogatory remark about Jarmila I have the upmost respect for anyone running in this election. If this is a ploy because I finished first in The Gazette poll, so be it." The poll was published yesterday.
Armour continued to define his leadership skills that were questioned by Zakova and ended by expressing his disappointment with her accusation. "If the mud-slinging is going to start now, that's fine I refuse to get involved."
As the forum continued, candidates stressed the importance of a candidate's character and as voices got louder and faces became redder it was apparent all candidates were shocked and thrown off by Zakova's accusations.
After the forum, Armour said he asked Zakova during the closing speeches if he could talk to her privately about the incident. "She said to me, 'I think you've said enough already'." He added he had no idea what was happening until Zakova began speaking. "I have never called her a dumb blonde in fact, I've defended her when someone questioned me on her ability."
Zakova explained she heard from a personal friend yesterday that Armour had called her a "dumb blonde" and that she could prove he said it. "I think it is perfectly fair to personally attack him, he is wearing two faces and people should know that," she said. "He is doing this for the publicity and I don't want to discuss it with him privately he needs to grow up."
Although he said he didn't know the facts about what happened between Armour and Zakova, Warren Tilston said he was extremely shocked about the accusations and the manner they were brought forth. "If we are going to put our character in the public domain, however, we must be ready to face who we are."
Brett Slade said he thought what happened last night was inappropriate. Fellow candidate Peter Hill also disapproved of Zakova's actions. "This was not the place or the time for personal accusations."
Gibson said the elections staff will be reviewing the incident today to determine if Zakova's actions warrant penalty.