Volume 93, Issue 64

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Toronto teacher in court with bribery charge

Gentlemen, start your engines

TA negotiations resume in Toronto

Government withholds refunds from students

Government reserves funding for hockey

Theft highlights slow crime week



Caught on campus

Gentlemen, start your engines

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Western's democratic wheels are beginning to move, as the 1999-00 University Students' Council presidential campaign starts tomorrow and the unofficial numbers are promising a tight race.

Although the list of presidential candidates will not be released until 5 p.m. today at an all-candidates meeting, Mike Gelfand, Chief Returning Officer for the USC, confirmed 12 males have declared their nominations for the USC presidential office.

The number of candidates could decrease after the meeting, Gelfand said, explaining a candidate's absence would automatically put him out of the running.

Historically, the number of students who vie for the presidential spot has been considerably less, Gelfand said, but added the unusually high number could work in the USC's favour. "It's a high number, but it will just increase awareness," he said. Last year's presidential hopefuls totalled eight.

SzeJack Tan, the current USC president, said he was both surprised and pleased with the interest in becoming president. "Hopefully the people at the forums are going to be patient because when [the candidates] have to make their opening remarks, even if you give them each two minutes – that's already half an hour. So we're looking at some pretty long forums," he said.

Gelfand explained this year's USC elections would differ from years past, as the move to online voting would eliminate all paper balloting. "We did online elections for the fall elections for Senate and the Board of Governors and the USC by-election and our numbers were consistent with the ones in the past," he said. "We're confident in the attractiveness of the online balloting."

Joel Adams, undergraduate representative on Western's Board of Governors, said even if the number of candidates remained at 12, the cream would quickly rise to the top. "It sounds like it could be cumbersome, but I think it will be pretty evident who the top runners are and who's out just to get exposure. They might have to alter a few forums, but I don't see any problems," he said.

Tan said the key issues which might take centre-stage this year include the usual hot topics from year to year. "A lot of the mainstay [issues] every year are accessibility to the school, student aid, [the candidate's] general leadership skills," he said.

Adams agreed, adding he thought this year's race did not have any standout issues. "I think this year will be focussed on the same things and the decision will come down to who will tackle the issues the best," he said.

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