By Sarah Rifield, Andrey Romanov
Tuesday’s debate of candidates for Student Senate Executive Board which took place in Spart’s Den kicked off this year’s Student Senate election season. The turnout for the event was an impressive: sixty to seventy people, leaving the event, standing room only. Candidates for five positions including Treasurer, Vice President of Campus Activities Board, Vice President of Organizational Development, Vice President, and President of Student Senate had the chance to appeal for support. The debate was conducted in an open floor manor, with the audience actively participating and asking the candidates questions. Here are some highlights of the event.
After the debate, when asked to further discuss his platform Abhi Kudaravalli, he said that his goal is “not to direct, but to advise.” He added that listening to the senators, members, and the student body is his strategy for achieving this. Abhi seemed to do well with the audience, but refrained from offering any specific platform goals of his own, while actively critiquing those of his opponents.
One of his opponents, Steven Brikowski, said that his message is something new to students, “no one has ever addressed these issues, and that is why it is a challenge to appeal to the students.” His platform proposals drew some attention during the debate, and many asked questions about his plans to end the ticketing of registered vehicles on campus and the full-meal plan requirement. Mike, a member of the audience noted after the debate, “Steven listed out very concrete issues; I did not hear that from the other candidates.”
Ashley McManus emphasized her personal approach to student issues and said, “I am very social around campus and talk to people all the time, so I know their concerns very well and am always there to help.” She also said that her primary approach to leading Student Senate would be a bottom-up one, not trickle-down.
The three of the candidates responded to all of the questions asked by the audience members. Questions ranged from very broad and general, such as the betterment of the conditions for LGBT students, to very specific, such as scrutinizing some of the platform goals that the candidates have proposed.
Vice Presidential Candidates:
When asked what each of the candidates would do with the positions if elected Zachary Wallace, Junior Criminal Justice major said “I feel that we [Student Senate] have done a great job this year doing what Student Senate is supposed to do — which is working for the students of YCP — getting things done for them. I want to keep that track running and I believe I am the right candidate for that role.”
Lauren Enlow, junior Political Science major, wants to expand the communication of Student Senate saying “I would most likely have an open forum and a news forum for the students to be able to figure out what student senate is up to, ask questions and encourage the chairs to have public tables so students can learn what they’re up to.”
Thomas Gaudet, sophomore International Relations and Political Science major, is focused on “breaking the barrier” between students and Student Senate. He believes “students tend to think Student Senate is a little better than them, because in reality we are students just like everyone else, I still get a bad grade on a test, I’m still late to class, I’m still just like everyone else.”
Fellow candidate Michael Anderson, junior political science major, says “I would like to return Student Senate to being accountable to the student, I feel that over the last year we have focused more on what we can do for the senators and Senate as a whole rather than what we can do for the student body.” As Vice President, he would want to direct the way committees structure projects so “we can better the student body, rather than just senators’ individual careers here.”
The candidates for all positions actively participated in the debate making the debate more engaging for the audience. Attendee Mark Baner sophomore Biology major said “I feel this was one of the more intrusive, I guess, which is a good thing, that’s how it’s supposed to be, the debating and heated arguments that were happening is what a debate should be… they succeeded in that way.”
Jordan Elford senior Hospitality Management major spoke on the verbose debates saying “I definitely think the candidates shared more than they did through their platforms, so I think that was definitely an eye opener for what people really have to offer, and what people say they are going to do and what they’re actually capable of doing.”
All in all the debates led to the success launch for the polls that can be found at election.ycp.edu/eboard16. Polls will close Friday at 5:00 p.m.
Find the candidates’ interviews with The Spartan here: Election 2016.