Editorial Board 2000-2001
Ideas over image
Ideas over image
In the end, substance must win over style.
The University Students' Council presidential elections are a mix of politics, university student naiveté and pipe dreams. Year after year, a few hearty souls stand in front of us all or the few thousand who care and they do everything they can to get votes.
Residence doors are pounded on, rave cards are shoved in faces and free hot chocolate is offered in attempts to win precious ballots. Then, at the end of two weeks, we log on to the USC Web page, stare at the list of names, make a choice and send a message to council.
This year, the choice is difficult. At the outset it was considered a four-horse race, but as the dust cleared the field was narrowed. After much debate and a hotly contested race, one candidate holds the lead.
Tim Shortill has set himself apart for several reasons, but utmost in our minds must be the delicate balance between the substance of his ideas and the style in which they are delivered.
While maybe not as charismatic, loud, or funny as his counterparts, Shortill does possess the speaking ability and presence necessary for the position of president. He seems trustworthy enough to appropriately and professionally express the will of the students in both council chambers and back rooms. He has also demonstrated the passion necessary to lead the student body at-large.
Shortill's style would mean nothing though, without ideas.
His platform was constructed around 11 major ideas, ranging from working to establish a new Dean of Students, to creating a women's leadership conference. Admittedly, some of his ideas seemed unfeasible, if not lacking in research. But where they did not show foundation, they did demonstrate ambition and vision.
His willingness to set forth an agenda of challenging initiatives and goals indicates his intellect, as well as his desire to affect change and move council forward.
We would be remiss if we did not note the abilities displayed by candidates like Mike Lawless or Josh Morgan, who, while possessing many of the abilities required of a president, lacked the perfect balance we should seek in a leader. They have performed admirably as candidates and to lose them completely from the ranks of council would be a shame. Incumbent Dave Braun's indisputable experience can only take him so far. Even though he knows the game, his ultimate responsibilty for the current council's lacklustre performance is the reason why a second term may not seem imminent.
Western has seen what a leader based on passion and happy-go-lucky attitude can do. The time has arrived for a renewed focus on vision, ideas and change.
With any luck, Shortill is the leader to provide this renewal. A renewal which will only happen with the substance he can provide.