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Debate kick starts BOG race
By Paul-Mark Rendon
A sparse crowd of onlookers did not deter candidates for the upcoming Board of Governors election from voicing their two cents at a public forum yesterday.
Four of the six candidates in the race were in the University Community Centre's atrium to discuss issues they would put on the front burner if elected, as well as their qualifications for the coveted undergraduate representative spot.
The incumbent, Joel Adams, a fifth-year computer engineering and honours business administration student, said his experience sets him apart. "The biggest thing you can bring to this position is the experience. Everyone's fighting for the same issues tuition, accessibility, but it's how you fight," he said.
Candidate Dave Braun, a third-year political science student, disagreed. "I don't think you should vote for me based on my experience," he said. "It has so much to do with the individual. When I'm sitting in that room, it's all about my judgement, my tact and my professionalism," he said.
Jeffrey Clayman, a third-year honours business administration and law student said he wanted to make sure students have access to the classroom. "I want to work to insure every student at Western has the ability to get the education they deserve." He added if elected, his focus would be to influence the Board to increase funding.
Neil Kapoor, a fourth-year administrative and commercial studies student, said if elected, he would work to increase the student voice on the Board. "I want to put everybody on the same page so we know what we're all doing," he said.
Kapoor down played concerns surrounding his inexperience. "I understand the issues. I've seen what representation we need and I feel I can make a difference," he said.
Although sitting on the Board is a daunting task considering the high profile of it's members, which include University president Paul Davenport and London mayor Dianne Haskett, the candidates said they would not back down from the challenge.
The foursome agreed issues such as rising tuition levels, student rights and accessibility to education were among the topics they would bring to the forefront if elected.
Two of the six candidates not present at the forum said although they did not attend, the race was far from over. "I know it probably hurts my chances, but I was elected to be VP-education and I have to do my job first," said Mark Kissel, a fourth-year music student. He added he would be out of town until next week attending a conference in Ottawa.
Colin MacPherson, a second-year medical student, said he regretted being unable to attend the forum due to an off-campus class. "If I had a chance to speak, I think I would have persuaded students to vote for me," he said.
Andrew Pothier, a second-year engineering student, said he decided to drop out of the race and pursue a position on Western's senate. "I realized my chances at winning were slim to none," he said, adding the move to run for senate is to gain more experience to pursue plans of running for BOG next year.