Volume 93, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 15, 2000


Tuition capped for five years

USC budget predicting surplus

Teachers' association rallies in opposition of federal report

Future of endorsements faces council meeting

VP hopefuls stand up to the mic

New program to reward excellence

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Future of endorsements faces council meeting

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

If passed at tonight's University Students' Council meeting, a motion may eliminate the ability of members of the Board of Directors to endorse a candidate in any election administered by the USC.

The motion to amend by-law #1, part VI was co-authoured by VP-campus issues Perry Monaco. Monaco said the motion also stated the president's assistant would not be permitted to endorse a candidate either.

"I thought it was a great idea," he said of the motion. "It's a precedent that exists right now."

Presently, Monaco said the Board did not endorse any candidate and said the by-law would only reaffirm this fact. "I just feel it's part of [the Board's] responsibility as a fair electoral process," Monaco said.

The rationale behind the motion is to ensure all candidates have equal opportunity in an election. "I think in any election the Board of Directors has an influence on people. It seems logical to limit their opinions in public, in a USC election."

If passed, Monaco said the by-law would affect any election which is administered by the USC, including the university Senate, Board of Governors, USC VP positions and some faculty and resident positions. "It's not necessarily every election on this campus because we don't administer every election on this campus," he said.

Although Monaco hoped the motion would pass, he said council would decide whether it was something they would want to implement.

USC president SzeJack Tan said he had not openly endorsed any candidate in any election throughout his term thus far, although he admitted to sharing thoughts on candidates to specific individuals.

Tan agreed endorsing a candidate could have some impact on the election. "In my opinion, everyone should have a fair shot."

However, Tan said he does have some concerns with the motion. "In terms of the motion, I'm going to ask a couple of questions. There's a lot of grey areas as far as I'm concerned."

Firstly, Tan said he wanted to address the term "endorse" and what it would entail. Secondly, Tan said he wanted to define how one could police such a by-law.

Honours Business and Administration president Scott Zack said he applauded the motion. "I would say that makes sense. Council has a lot of impact on the uniformed voters." Zack said has been careful not to endorse any candidates as they campaign for his position.

"I think it's one of the most unnecessary motions," said Michael Rubinoff, president of Western's legal society. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous. It's up to the individuals if they want to endorse a candidate. And it's up to the voter if they want to listen."

Rubinoff said he had several concerns with the motion. "It's curtailing one's freedom of speech. That's not necessary to do. I think the Board might be flattering themselves that their opinion means so much. I don't think it does."

He was also concerned as to how such a by-law could be policed as well as how subsequent infractions would be punished.

Rubinoff said he would raise his concerns at tonight's meeting. "I'm hoping this will be a fruitful debate," he said.

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