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The three presidential candidates running in the 2017 USC elections talk at the media debate. 

What is the 20 per cent? 20 per cent is the rough average of students who vote in student elections at Western every year. It is also the name of the Gazette's 2017 elections blog.

 The campaign for USC president and vice-president is now well underway.

Despite all of the talk about microwaves, the Purple Store and brunch at The Wave, I see a clear theme that underlines this election: Slates and others continue to define them as “insider” or “outsider” candidates. But underneath all of the debate was an attempt to solidify their qualifications.

On Team Jan/Mohammad’s Facebook page, their description focuses on the fact that they are separate from the USC as an administration that claims perfection. They specifically brand themselves as normal students.

Team Tobi has continually highlighted their outsider status. The very first sentence in Team Tobi’s platform focuses on how the team is “made up of students just like yourself.”

Team DiBrina focuses on the opposite — they have knowledge of the institution and through their experience they feel they recognize inherent problems in the institution.

The arguments in favour of an insider candidate lays in the fact that they have knowledge of the institution that the president and vice-president are expected to work within. As David DiBrina pointed out in the past media debate, their slate wouldn’t be starting off at “home plate” like the rest of the slates would be. 

The outsider argument mainly lies with the perception that the system is flawed and having an outsider outlook will be beneficial. With this perspective, outsider-candidates haven’t been bogged down by the bureaucratic leviathan known as the USC, they are more suitable to serve the needs of the students.

As much as I would like to sympathize with the whole “political outsiders actually understand their constituencies” argument, the truth is that this is just not the case — especially in terms of Western’s students' council.

Just because Team DiBrina has a list of USC-related titles doesn’t mean that they were excused from being students. They still went to class, socialized with other students and can therefore associate themselves with the average student just as much as Team Jan/Mohammad and Team Tobi can.

Both members of Team Tobi are part of a fraternity — something the average student can’t connect with. Team Jan/Mohammad are from Huron which clearly separates them from main campus students. At the end of the day, no slate necessarily relates to each and every student.

Last time I checked, most students don’t vote in USC elections and most students would never consider running for any position. The election should be about whose ideas resonate with students more and who they want as their leaders. 

The whole insider/outsider argument is a sham which enforces false divides. I call on students to base their decision on the platform points and ideas that they connect, regardless of who is advocating them.


Sabrina is pursuing her second year as a News Editor here at the Gazette. She is a fourth year International Relations student at Western University.

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