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Prez candidates face off with media
By John Intini, Paul-Mark Rendon, Christina Vardanis and Terry Warne
Western's media got their first crack at the presidential hopefuls on Friday, questioning their platforms and personal experience.
Dave Braun, third-year political science student, said he is looking to sharpen the focus of the University Students' Council and was surprised at the interest generated by his promise of a "beef board" for students. He was also questioned on the lack of concrete issues in his campaign.
First-year honours business administration student Dave Brebner, said increasing the profile of the USC's web site was important, drawing from his own experience as USC internet commissioner. He suggested making bursaries and scholarships more conspicuous through the web site.
Although Brebner said an idea on his platform was Gazette autonomy, he conceded he did not do all his homework. "I'll admit most of my research has been on the USC side. I had the intention to talk to [Gazette front office], but I've talked to [USC general manager] Jim Walden," he said.
Jeff Brown, third-year English student, joked about his lack of experience. "I may not know what I'm talking about half the time. I'm only a weekend golfer but I might hit a hole in one if you elect me," he said. He also discussed the importance of reducing tuition, but did not specify any ways with which he plans to achieve this.
Mitch Chiba, fourth-year kinesiology student, was unable to provide a solution to his platform promise of preserving green space on campus, in light of the increase in enrollment expected with the double cohort. He promised to come up with the answer in the next few days.
Fraser Connell, third-year political science student, was quick to admit he had some weaknesses. "I admit I may not be the best public speaker, I don't like talking in front of people," he said. With respect to issues, Connell said he would like to make the Wave a profitable venture.
Fourth-year political science student Ray Novak, said although he was in favour of lowering non-academic student fees, he would be voting "Yes" in the upcoming bus pass referendum. He said although this seemed contradictory, his platform outlined a zero per cent increase for base non-academic fees and the students would be the ones to scrutinize the bus pass on Feb.9. When questioned about Gazette autonomy, Novak said it was vital to have a student press that operates separate from the USC.
Luke Petrykowski, second-year biology student, touched on his plan to create an Office of the Student Advocate, which would give students advice on things such as personal problems and act as a referral service.
"USC experience isn't necessary to be USC president, my name's not important the students are important," he said.
Neil Kapoor, fourth-year Administrative and Commercial Studies student, said while he wants to promote the USC and university events, he did not think any significant changes were needed.
Fourth-year ACS student Jeff Sutton spoke about the importance of Orientation Week and said it is vital administration and the USC work together to preserve the week.
Fourth-year political-science student Taylor Pressey was not in attendance, as he was in Ottawa the United Alternative conference.