February 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 68  

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Vote against voter apathy

To vote or not to vote? When it comes to student elections at Western, that has always been the question.

And whether it be provincial politics or its smaller university brethren, apathy has staked its claim with many eligible voters in Canada, especially young Canadians. Many are disillusioned with the current state of politics, leaving them unwilling to learn or just plain ignorant about political parties and their leaders.

In the next few weeks, the University Community Centre atrium will be filled with student politicians and their (often) annoying campaign teams. The University Students’ Council’s presidential election will be contested by five members of the Western student body.

Why should students care about all this? Well, there are many reasons.

In the past, the USC presidential race has been less of a race and more of an extremely slow gallop. Two years ago, it was Chris Sinal who dominated the competition, and just last year, Paul Yeoman and his mile-long list of USC experience and credentials made the election a forgone conclusion.

This year, however, the race appears to be wide open, offering five very qualified and experienced individuals with unique perspectives. Patrick Harris, Steve Learmonth, Dave Molenhuis, Kathy Robineau and Nick Staubitz will try to woo the student body to their cause while providing a strong race.

Secondly, as much as students may believe the USC does absolutely nothing for them, it really does affect every students’ life. As a corporation, it operates many services that we all use on a daily basis with an extremely large budget. As a government, it sets rules and priorities for approximately 24,000 undergraduate students.

And if you’re still not sold, then the many forums that will be held during the campaign should offer some very humorous responses to questions. Plus, it never gets old listening to student politicos talk about saving campus by installing another microwave in CentreSpot.

The Gazette will be providing extensive coverage of the election, beginning with our profiles of the presidential candidates, published results of a quiz we’ll force all five candidates to take and articles covering most of the forums taking place over the next two weeks.

Check the Tuesday, Feb. 17 edition of The Gazette, which is the first day of voting, for an endorsement of the candidate we feel is best qualified for the job of USC president.

Students pay hundreds of dollars in USC fees. Its services, resources and its governing body should be dictated by those it represents and serves.

So even if you choose not to vote, do yourself a favour and check out what the candidates are saying about the best way to serve you and your peers next year.



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