USC VP candidates answer tough questions
By Laura Katsirdakis
The CentreSpot lounge in the University Community Centre was
filled with VP-wannabes yesterday afternoon as the candidates
for the University Students’ Council Board of Director
engaged in a question and answer forum.
The candidates for VP-campus issues were the first to answer
questions. “My character and integrity is what I can
bring to this position,” said fourth-year political science
student Eric Johanssen. When asked about his perspective on
the Ontario Disability Act, he said it was important to work
toward the 2008 goal set by the ODA for complete campus accessibility.
On the topic of environmental issues on campus, fourth-year
media, information and technoculture student Toben Alexander
advocated contests between residences to increase student awareness. “Anyone
who’s watched Degrassi Junior High knows [there can be
When asked how he would handle heated debates on campus, fourth-year
geography student Mark Baird said that finding a balance between
free speech and avoiding hateful speech was important. “We
need to have free speech, but not in a way that hurts others.”
“The VP-finance is the point person, and the VP-campus
issues is the resource person for the clubs,” said VP-finance
candidate Clifford Seto, a fourth-year administrative and commercial
studies student. He noted he would like to see a stricter definition
of what constitutes a club.
Bryan Szemenyei, a fourth-year economics student and VP-finance
contender, said when it comes to clubs, the VP-campus issues
should handle the cultural and religious clubs, with others
being handled by the VP-finance. “I am passionate about
my platform — I have extensive experience with USC finance,” he
VP-education hopeful Dave Molenhuis, a fourth-year history
and French student, cited his experience in lobbying all three
levels of government. “I have a broad vision for the
portfolio,” he said, explaining that as VP-education
he would devote 60 per cent of his time to external issues
and 40 per cent to internal ones.
When a a mature student with “unfortunate” credit
and no money from the Ontario Student Assistance Program asked
how she would help him, fourth-year geology student Alison
Forbes pointed out that many bursaries go unassigned because
of a lack of awareness. “We need to focus on students
like these; we need to make the university aware of students
“There are serious issues that surround education,” said
Mandy Madill, fourth-year philosophy student, explaining that
she became involved with education issues when she saw a friend
drop out of university in second year because they could not
afford to continue.
The candidates for VP-student affairs, fourth-year film student
Giovanni Paola, and Natasha Collia, a fourth-year psychology
student, were the last to speak at the forum.
Collia stressed the need to have genuine networking between
different groups on campus, including the affiliate colleges.
Paola suggested a Gong Show which would take programming out
of the UCC and attract those with talents to participate.