Melissa Peterson and Antoinette Tarenets

The crowded field for USC president got a little slimmer as two teams dropped out of the race late last week.

In less than 24 hours, two slates announced they were ceasing their bid for president and vice-president of the University Students' Council. Team MacMillan was the first to announce their withdrawal from the race on Thursday evening, followed by mel + twon on Friday morning.

That leaves three duos still in the race, with the first voting day less than a week away.

Robert MacMillan said on Thursday that their humourous campaign was not met positively by students.

"Our goal was to include satire into the campaign and to provide students with a slightly more amusing reason to be interested in student politics,” he said. “Unfortunately, it seems like the Western community is not ready for this type of approach.”

Brandon Palin, presidential candidate for the Palin-Cohen slate, said he spoke to Team MacMillan earlier Thursday and was caught off-guard by their decision.

"They received a lot of negative attention on their campaign, and I think it speaks to the barriers that there are within the USC and actually running for the position," he said. "The way he described it was that it was taking a mental toll on them, and it wasn't worth it to keep going."

Kevin Hurren, USC communications officer, wished the two former candidates the best in their plans moving forward.

"Team Macmillan brought a unique voice to the USC elections season. Their humour was a welcome addition, and we wish them the best of luck with their future plans," he said.

Then on Friday, Melissa Peterson and Antoinette Tarenets said they too would be quitting the race.

In a letter to The Gazette explaining their withdrawal, Peterson said she was disillusioned with the USC, arguing it was not representative of Western students, it was more of a corporation than student government and failed students on a number of issues, including racial representation and mental health help.

"The reality is that not all students feel cared for by you. I must admit, I am one of them," Peterson said. "Because as much as I appreciate the effort you make to improve Western, I just flat out don’t agree with some of your approaches."

Andrew Chorney, chief returning officer of the USC, said the elections committee respects the decision the candidates made and will miss Mel + Twon's unique perspective.

"Obviously I'd like to see a diverse group of students and there still is a diverse group of students running in the PVP election," Chorney said."From my perspective, it's not that it's disappointing. You want to see as many slates as possible, so to go from five to three it obviously changes our plans a bit but we're still just as excited to move forward."

Hurren expressed his disappointment as the number of eligible slates went from five to three.

"As disappointing as withdrawals are, the initial number of slates still shows promise," Hurren said. "What this proves is that any two students — regardless of background, experience or ideas — can easily become legitimate candidates for USC leadership."

The remaining slates will face off in the USC debate tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the UCC atrium. They meet again on Thursday at the same time and location for a media debate.

WIth files from Katie Lear, Olivia Zollino and Hamza Tariq


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