Revealing their platforms and their faces, the candidates in the race for the Student Government (SG) executive slate addressed student concerns in the second-annual SG debate, held in the McCormick lounge Wednesday night.
The debate, co-sponsored by SG and the Inter-House Council (IHC), gave each slate six minutes to state its platforms, two minutes for replies, and a chance to answer audience questions at the end. The four slates running this year are This Charming Slate, Slate of the Union, Raising the Bar, and the Moose Party.
While the debate was held at Mandel Hall last year, Erik Hanson, a third-year in the College and the IHC's liaison to SG, said the McCormick Lounge allowed for a more personal atmosphere, making it easier to control the audience.
During last year's inaugural SG debate, the Moose Party, a slate composed of Delta Upsilon (DU) brothersnow in its 10th year running for SG on a platform of drunkenness and anarchytalked on their cell phones, interacted with audience members, and heckled other candidates, while other DU brothers actively supported the Moose Party's antics.
In the McCormick lounge setting, SG and IHC officials managed to quiet down the heckling frat brothers, though the Moose Party still gained raucous applause for its proposals of turning all the science laboratories into distilleries and flooding the campus with vodka.
This year's candidates fielded a variety of issues, including minority status at the University, the proposed Red Line and a reevaluation of the Late Night Van Service. The topic of most interest with the audience was RSO funding, in lieu of the fact that the current Student Government Finance Committee (SGFC) ran out of money for student groups early this quarter.
This Charming Slate elaborated on a platform of reaching out to the students and to the Hyde Park community. The slate promised to increase RSO funding by increasing the amount of money SGFC can spend, doubling the number of late night vans, trying to make the service more efficient, improving community relations, and dealing with the excess of dining hall food that is wasted every night.
Sheera Talpaz, a first-year in the College and the slate's vice-presidential candidate for administration, explained her slate's determination to produce results through fewer committees and more one-on-one student interactions.
"We don't need to mince words," Talpaz said. " We have a singular vision to help the University in one way and don't need more bureaucracy to help with that."
The Slate of the Union's three concerns are to improve student-administration relations, to advocate minority issues, and to improve University-Hyde Park relationships. The president of the slate, Milca Pierre, a third-year in the College, expanded on the idea of forging a better relationship with the Hyde Park community by addressing the University's property holdings in the area
"The University has a tendency to buy land in Hyde Park without informing the community leaders," Pierre said. "We would advocate involving the community in the University's holdings and telling the community when the University is buying property."
The Slate of the Union also advocated posting SGFC's application online for RSOs to fill out electronically, having administration roundtables, and having RSO roundtables every quarter for all the groups to interact. It also wants to set up an athlete board.
Raising the BAR emphasized the fact that it is the only slate to have both a graduate student and a presidential candidate with SG experience. It also tackled the issue of RSO funding by proposing a RSO student liaison, creating a SG funding body separate from the SGFC. It also wants to improve "the brand name" of the University by supporting athletic teams and competing academic clubs, and to create an Inter-RSO Council to set up dialogue between different RSOs and help each other find corporate sponsorship for their various events.
Bret Kadison, Raising the BAR's vice-presidential candidate for administration and a first-year GSB student, stressed his slate's resolve to improve undergraduate-graduate relations on campus. "This slate will be serving as a conduit to graduate concerns as well as undergraduate concerns," Kadison said. "We are committed to increasing the sense of community through graduate and undergraduate students having more social interactions."
The Moose Party, the last slate to address the audience, lambasted most of the issues that the other slates addressed. The Moose Party's answer to solving minority issues was to drink more because, they said, "beer goggles" make everyone look hotter. In fact, most of their answers involved intoxication in some form or another, as they promised to turn all the statues into beer fountains and get the chemistry department to make peppermint schnapps rain on the campus.
Members of IHC agreed that this year's debate was more toned down and informational than last year's debate. "I thought everything went fairly well," Hanson said. "Everyone got their issues out and heard, even issues slates didn't want to mention got out and will be important for students to make a well-rounded decision."
Voting for the SG elections begins on May 3 and will continue online until May 5.