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Hopefuls face media grilling
By Dave Yasvinski
Western's media had the opportunity to face off against this year's presidential hopefuls during yesterday's media circus forum.
The two hour question period allowed representatives from The Gazette, TVWestern, CHRW FM 94.7 and Western News the chance to question the eight candidates on the specifics of their platforms as well as their desire to lead the University Students' Council next year.
Stephen Zolis was forced to defend his dedication to students when asked why he resigned from his position as head Soph at King's College last year. "There's one thing I can always admit to is that I will make some mistakes," Zolis said. "I was a little bit too much of a hothead at the time and I should have just sat down, shut up and done my job."
Zolis stressed this would not be a problem in the future. "I think I'm a lot better at dealing with stuff now."
First-year student Kalev Suurkask said the job of president is a learning process, when asked about his lack of experience. "It's not about what you've done in the past but what you are going to do in the future."
Perry Monaco was asked to address his plans for a student reserve fund in light of the fact one already exists. "I wasn't aware there was one already. So allow me to modify what I've given you and I would put the money into the existing fund."
Monaco added this money would never be used to cover USC costs in the event they had a bad year financially. "This money is for the students."
One of the biggest challenges Joey Hammill identified during the campaign was addressing the issue that he is not a checklist president. "I don't have a platform and it's hard for me to explain that," Hammill said.
He added if there is one reason to vote for him it is because he is willing to do what he says.
Nurup Naimji was forced to address the specifics of his plan for a discount on bus trips from London to Toronto. He said while he could not give students exact numbers on how much they would save, if the discount is as much as $10 it seems worthwhile. However, he admitted he has not examined the feasibility of applying this to Western.
"I can guarantee by the end of my term you'll have this done," said John Botting of his three part action plan paper. He said students need to have their feedback formalized in a document.
Emily Chung said she was unconcerned about losing corporate sponsorship dollars because of her student freedoms act. "In the short term sure some companies might want to jump ship but in the long term we are one of the most lucrative markets. I really don't see that it would be a problem."
When SzeJack Tan was asked how he would lobby the government in a way that is different from the lobby efforts of current student groups, he said he felt the USC's role was to provide financial assistance. "It's helping them out and trying to enhance their campaign and really just doing our part and trying to gauge what the student interest is here."