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By Erin Conway-Smith
Two of the three candidates for an undergraduate student position on Western's Board of Governors participated in a forum at last night's University Students' Council meeting.
Scott Belton and Dave Brebner introduced themselves as candidates in the election and answered questions from USC members. Candidate Savtaj Brar did not attend the forum.
VP-student affairs Wes Brown asked the candidates how they plan on gaining the respect of the prominent business community leaders who currently sit on BOG.
Brebner noted the time he spent working with BOG as a USC member last year, adding he has already formed relationships with some BOG members. "You go in and listen to them speak professionally, talk in points, get your point across," he said.
Belton said the key is to be professional and to articulate student positions, while not coming off as abrasive or shy. "Try to work with them, not against them be persuasive and professional," he said.
Student senator Neil Kapoor said previous BOG members have "cut their teeth" on Senate before being elected to BOG and asked Belton how he planned to overcome a lack of Senate experience.
Belton explained he has a different range of experiences to offer, that could be valuable to BOG. "[I have] something different to bring to the table," he said.
Kapoor asked Brebner how he plans to overcome his close ties to the USC if elected to BOG. Brebner said he thought only Western administration members on BOG would be aware of his ties to the USC and said he plans on bringing more to the table than his USC experience.
Sera Vavala, VP-student affairs, asked candidates what they thought was the biggest threat to accessible, high-quality, publicly-funded post secondary education.
Brebner said he thought the biggest threat was students not being able to afford university. He didn't think privately-funded universities were necessarily a bad thing if students can receive adequate funding, he added. On BOG, he said he would ensure efforts are taken to locate funding for students.
Belton said he thought limited access to financial aid for students was a problem. He said he thought there should be a long-term plan for tuition fees so students know what they can expect to pay for the next five years.
Voting in the election takes place online, Oct. 17-18.