Volume 94, Issue 75

Tuesday, February 6, 2001


Prez hopefuls visit Saugeen

$2.5M fund created for Internet start-ups

Student activism tops Htoo's list


Corroded Disorder

Student activism tops Htoo's list

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

You can call him the "Tin man," but you cannot deny that he's got heart.

First-year social science student, Tin Maung Htoo, hopes his international survival experience will be enough to put him in line to be president of the University Students' Council.

"The reason I'm running is to promote student life and student activism here on campus," he explained. "I want to do something good."

Htoo said he has been involved as a student rights activist in both Burma and Thailand since 1988.

He said his past experience includes being a part of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front, as well as the founder of the All Burma Basic Education Students' Union. In 1993 he was arrested by Thailand authorities for his activist pursuits, and put in detention for three years. He was eventually freed with the help of Amnesty International, he said.

"It is my desire and eagerness to promote the concepts of student responsibility in Canada," he said, adding key global issues such as social justice and human rights need to be addressed.

"We can't ignore these issues," he said. "As a student council we are responsible for them. As an integrated and unified student group, we can motivate and push the government."

Tin Maung Htoo is one of seven candidates vying for the USC presidential office.

Htoo said he hoped for student councils and student interest groups around the country to unite together. "The government can divide separate groups. We need to push for a strong national group."

The reduction of tuition fees, through collaboration with other student groups and the various levels of government, is his key platform issue, Htoo said. "We can't do this alone," he said. "We have to talk to people responsible in that sector to talk and negotiate."

Htoo said he hoped for better partnerships with student groups such as the Canadian Federation of Students in order to pursue the freeze and reduction of student fees.

Htoo said he also hopes to negotiate with professors to decrease the cost of course notes. "The profit should be for students, not for professors," he added.

The USC is not very politically active, Htoo said, adding he thinks Western could become the central student force in Canada. "My experience abroad has shown me how to change things here," he said. "I know the solution."

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