Volume 96, Issue 75
Thursday, February 12, 2003

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Politicos face media spotlights

By Ryan Hickman, Christopher Hodge and Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

Yesterday's media forum saw six University Students' Council presidential candidates entertain the masses with dancing, impressions and jokes.

The forum was held yesterday afternoon in the University Community Centre atrium, providing an opportunity for campus media to question the candidates on their platforms.

Cameron McAlpine, a fourth-year history and political science student said that, while this year's USC Board of Directors is implementing many of the aspects of his platform – such as lower soph fees and lower insurance costs for clubs – they are still personal priorities he has had over the last few years.

"I think it's unfair to insinuate that, because the [current] Board of Directors started [these initiatives], it is not something that I started," he said.

When asked about the role of the communications officer on next year's council, McAlpine said it should remain an internally selected position, so that someone with the best skills to do the job is hired.

Fourth-year King's College political science student Brook Dyson said he will continue to support an initiative to shorten the time students spend waiting in lines on campus, especially in light of next year's double cohort.

"Lineups are only going to get bigger and bigger, unless we do something about them right now. If we can take a chip out of even one of the lineups, then we can show students that we are doing something," he said.

"The USC really needs to be pro-active, and maybe, just maybe you'll get [students] involved," Dyson said when asked about apathy on campus.

"Lobbying is a very important part of the president's job," said Mohamed Al Sabawi, a third-year political science student, in reference to student lobby groups, adding he would work with such groups to make the lives of Western students better.

"There are not enough ethnic people and minorities coming out at Western," Al Sabawi added, when asked what he brings to the campaign the other candidates do not.

USC operations, such as The Spoke and The Wave, will have to ensure they have programming to deal with underage students – like the wet/dry program, said Paul Yeoman, a fourth-year political science student, when asked about what effect the double cohort will have on campus. "My sister – knock on wood – will be coming here next year," he added.

Myron Belej, a third-year engineering and geography student, stated he would like to be the "cultural candidate for USC president."

When questioned on the lack of female visibility on the USC, Belej explained the diversity of gender in his two programs – a majority of males in engineering and conversely females in geography – allowed him to perceive both perspectives.

Neil Uttamsingh, a fourth-year King's College psychology student, said he would further his plans to reach out to the student body by addressing student safety through a campus-wide audit and survey, imitating initiatives that occurred at the University of British Columbia.

He also pointed to the use of student media as a tool to get across to students. "TV Western is an educational tool and has to be relevant to students," Uttamsingh stated. "The number 1 objective is to reach out to students."

–with files from Chris Webden


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