Volume 96, Issue 71
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

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Who will be crowned king of the USC castle?

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

Much like contestants of American Idol, Western wananabe student politicos took to the microphone yesterday to begin their quest for student adoration – and votes .

The six University Students' Council presidential candidates took part in an open forum yesterday, to answer questions from the Western community.

The first question concerned what the candidates felt were the best and worst council initiatives of this past year.

Paul Yeomen, a fourth-year political science student, said he felt the councillor training session was great. "[But,] I don't think councillors have had enough to do."

"I believe that the USC Notes can be revamped and improved a lot," said fourth-year King's College psychology student Neil Uttamsingh, adding council should begin a revamp at the grassroots.

Fourth-year history and political science student, Cameron McAlpine, said the creation of the Orientation Strategic Planning Group was a good initiative. "I don't think there was an initiative that council passed that was [really] bad," he added.

"There really isn't any USC initiative that stuck out in my mind," said Brook Dyson, a fourth-year political science student, noting he would implement initiatives that affect students directly.

Myron Belej, a third-year civil engineering and geography student, said he felt Clubs Week was an important success, adding the USC should do whatever it can to improve involvement.

"[The USC has undertaken too many] initiatives focused on certain people," said third-year political science student Mohamed Al Sabawi, adding he would like to see more broad-based initiatives.

All of the candidates agreed the double cohort was an important issue and that co-operation with administration in dealing with Orientation Week was necessary.

One of the few issues the candidates disagreed upon was student mobilization.

"I think mobilization is extremely important," Belej said, adding a 24-hour community service project would enhance student involvement.

"If you affect students with the USC and with [issues] they care about, people will come out," Dyson said.

McAlpine said he disagreed. "I don't think it's the students responsibility to mobilize themselves," he said, adding most students deal with school and paying bills.

"Mobilization is important for any student government," Uttamsingh said, adding Western's Society of Graduate Students is a good example.

"At the same time, you need committed, dedicated people," Yeoman said, adding he appreciates the tangible results accomplished through the USC's lobby groups.

Al Sabawi said mobilization should be set up by the people elected, adding it is important to get the average student involved.

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