USC Media Debate

Robbie Cohen answers a question during Thursday night's USC debate.

The second USC slate debate took place last night with candidates answering questions from the media and students-at-large.

Questions were asked by The Gazette and CHRW, with students submitting questions for the slates via email, Facebook and Twitter.

This debate was more intense than the last with each candidate asked questions that hit close to home. Audience questions were heated and singled out candidates for their past behaviour. 

Avila was questioned about his role as orientation week coordinator in the midst of the sophs apparel ban controversy. Palin-Cohen criticized Avila for not engaging in more discussion with students. Avila acknowledged that the process could have been improved, but it was necessary to take quick action and deal with student concerns. 

Team Avila also faced criticism for their platform point to implement a pay-as-you-go system as some OSAP students would lose some funding. Cleary said people should be able to pay for what they are actually receiving. Roy said that he personally is against this as he is an OSAP student and would be negatively affected. Palin said it was not realistic and cited the negative repercussions of this method at Queen's University.

Cohen was criticized for his role as CRO in the elections last year — his committee initially did not give Jack Litchfield’s slate enough to be disqualified, but this decision was overturned by the appeals committee. Avila criticized Cohen’s leadership skills and said he was unable to manage a team effectively. Cohen said there were strict rules to follow and said only one decision his committee made was changed. 

Roy was asked about his ban from campus in 2012 for engaging in an unauthorized protest. Roy said he was proud of what he did in standing up for free speech and this incident should not be an example of what his performance as USC president would be.

Despite the heated answers, the debate started off with presidential candidates dodging some of the questions.

When asked what their running mates biggest weakness was, Palin said his lack of so-called experience was both a strength and weakness and Roy and Avila spoke of good characteristics of their partners.

A question that made the candidates a little uncomfortable was what slate, other than their own, they would vote for. Avila had no answer, but encouraged students to vote for whoever they felt best suited them, Palin answered Team Roy as they provide a different perspective and Roy said Team Avila due to their passion.

Vice-presidential candidates answered questions more directly. All candidates agreed they would not take on extensive roles in OUSA.  

When asked about what is lacking in Western’s mental health system McKendrick cited the wait times and lack of crisis centre as key concerns and that students need to know about off-campus resources. Cleary said a crisis centre should be implemented. Cohen said mental health needs to be addressed differently and physical activity amongst students should be increased. All candidates agreed the exam schedule should be re-assessed in order to help student health. 

This was the final debate for the candidates. Online voting will be open on Feb. 8-9.

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Managing Editor of Content

Rita was the managing editor of content for Volume 111. She was previously a news editor for two years and graduated with an honours specialization in political science.

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