Volume 95, Issue 73

Tuesday, February 12, 2002
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Ignorance isn't bliss

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Ignorance isn't bliss

Four University Students' Council presidential forums have come and gone – four more loom on the horizon.

Candidates have a week of campaigning left to distinguish themselves from one another before the student body. The need for ideas – real ideas – has officially hit a critical stage.

After Sunday's Saugeen-Maitland Hall forum, one question clearly needs to be asked: does it really matter what each candidate's favourite Bon Jovi song is?

With apologies to die hard Bon Jovi fans, the answer is no. Yet that was one of the many useless questions asked at the Saugeen forum.

During a campaign in which candidates have brought very few original or well-researched ideas to the table, perhaps the question acutely reflects what little USC knowledge candidates have.

Either way, at the halfway mark of the current presidential campaign, it is important to examine some of the critical issues where candidates have lacked clarity.

Student safety issues have been a major concern on campus throughout the past year. Some candidates have suggested increased communication with the University Police Department, as well as publishing safety reports. Some have promised USC responsibility for safety infrastructure on campus, with or without the financial help of our university administration or the City of London.

We must ask, has anyone looked into the costs of improving safety on campus? Has any candidate provided any logistics or specifics on how they would tackle the infrastructure of such a plan?

Of course not – details are a rare commodity on this campaign.

Fiscal responsibility has been another hot topic, but most of the candidates have been unable to articulate what is wrong with USC finances. Some have suggested the lowering of student fees without revealing what specific services they would eliminate.

It must also be noted that the president is not the driving force behind USC fiscal accountability – there are reasons why a VP-finance and a corporate accountant are employed by the USC.

The student bus pass has also inspired a number of campaign promises. Many candidates have pledged to negotiate a bus pass for part-time students and an opt-out plan for full-time students. The reality is a contract between the USC and the London Transit Commission prevents such changes.

Based on the limited knowledge displayed by the majority of candidates thus far, one might reasonably presume a large number of them tossed their names into the race at the last moment.

Presidential candidates have one more week to provide informed opinions concerning key student issues. The student body has one more week to call them on their bluffs.

Let the countdown begin.

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