What we'd like to see

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 6, 2008 Ed Cartoon

With the University Students’ Council presidential race out of the gate this week, The Gazette decided to examine what we hoped to see from this year’s campaigns.

The candidates have their unique platform points, but there are still certain general things that would be refreshing to see this time round.

While it is important to have a well-adjusted, politically-savvy candidate who can manage a Board of Directors, it would be nice to see “real,” salt-of-the-earth candidates running this year. The USC is aiming to reconnect with students; having relatable personalities in the mix for president is vital to achieving this. Showcasing their personality is important in establishing a rapport with voters.

Past USC elections have been notorious for focusing too much on the individual, with the race turning into a mere popularity contest. While this is bound to happen to an extent, it would be encouraging to see more emphasis on clear-cut issues.

There are specific issues that have become top priorities at Western: environmental sustainability, the status of the University Community Centre lease and improving relations at the Town & Gown meetings to name a few. It would be great to see where this year’s candidates stand on these divisive issues. Hopefully the election focuses more on the balance of these issues and less on personal popularity.

For next year, we would like to see the USC president tackle such things as lobbying to reduce the prices in Centrespot, re-work exam schedules to accommodate expiring leases and continue to chip away at a 12-month bus pass.

It would also be nice to see some more surprises in this year’s race. Current USC President Tom Stevenson’s victory came as a surprise to many last year " more shocking twists make for an exciting race.

Some humanity and genuine reactions to challenges would show that these candidates offer a little more than robotic, pre-programmed responses. Preparation is key, but the ability to think on the fly proves to voters that the future president has both the requisite skills and a strong sense of the position.

Last, but certainly not least, it would be fantastic to see an initiative to encourage females to run for president. The candidates should include something about “women in politics” in their platforms.

It is very important that something is done to spur the women at Western to run for the top spot. Women play prominent roles as campaign managers for the candidates and in head soph positions, yet it has been a few years since Western has had any serious female candidates.

It’s great that the girls have been doing such crucial behind-the-scenes stuff in the presidential races, but there are many women at Western that would be really strong candidates.

As much as this year’s USC presidential race will present the same dynamic as years past, it would be lovely to see several of the elements we have suggested become a factor.

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