The annual Student Government (SG) debates, sponsored by the Inter-House Council (IHC), gave candidates for undergraduate and graduate student liaison and executive slate a chance to present themselves and their platforms in a live discussion in Mandel Hall on Tuesday evening.
First to speak were the candidates for undergraduate student liaison: Third-year Alex Stepick, third-year Ben Walsh, and first-year Daniel Kimerling. Stepick pledged to encourage more social events between faculty and students if he were elected. "It would be a social version of office hours, which I think would be lovely," he said.
Stepick said that his main project for next year, if elected, would be to work for increased awareness and safety on campus, specifically through developing the Sexual Violence Project.
Walsh said his experiences with SG for the past two years have given him a valuable familiarity with the committee procedure. He said also that he has an understanding of long-term student needs, which he promised to express to members of the board.
One of Walsh's main goals is to increase the accessibility of the student liaison, of information, and of members of the board. If elected, he plans to hold regular meetings with students and reach out to RSOs. Walsh proposed to further institutionalize the position of liaison and take on more responsibilities.
Kimerling argued that his status as newcomer to SG and to the College would give him an advantage in the role of student liaison. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of the current SG administration, stressing the importance of bringing new people into power. He also pointed out that, as a first-year, he could potentially serve as liaison for several years, bringing continuity to the role.
Kimerling emphasized the importance of communication with the student body. He said that few are aware of the existence of a student liaison, with the exception of those who have regularly attended student government meetings. "I think there was a Maroon article about it once, but we all know how much that's read," he said. To address this problem, Kimerling said he would host regularly scheduled "office hours" in the C-Shop to listen to students' concerns. Kimerling also spoke of expanding the Metcalf Internship Program in the CAPS department.
Anne Harrington, running unopposed for graduate student liaison, said she was concerned with the state of graduate health care, which would be her major project for next year. She will also seek capital improvements for the student care center. Harrington said her involvement in student activist groups has given her experience in communicating with the student body.
After the student liaison candidates spoke, the candidates for executive slates debated. Three slates are vying for the executive position this year: The Moose Party (Sam Henry, Adam Brunk, and Noah Yavitz), the Doomsday Party (Mike McCarney, Matthew Fink, and Marvin Lowenthal), and Better Slate Than Never (Robert Hubbard, Philip Caruso, and Lola Thompson).
The first slate to speak, the Moose Party, took a strong stance in opposition to pants. Yavitzdemonstrating the slate's commitment to its principlesremoved his pants early in the debate and spent most of the evening in his boxer shorts. Brunk said that the Moose Party wants to "make things better than they are meow."
The Moose Party promised to install an elaborate system of Slip'n' Slides to address the growing transportation concerns facing the student body. The candidates also promised to install "large urinals with appropriately large urinal cakes" all around campus, and appeared to remain firm in their commitment to public drunkenness.
The Doomsday Party, presenting next, repeatedly expressed its unhappiness with the current SG administration. The slate voiced concerns with the SG website, which they claim houses a number of nonfunctional links and outdated information. The Doomsday candidates felt the website highlighted problems with the current SG administration's communication efforts.
Fink discussed changing the disbursal of SG funds by allocating a portion of the funds after the start of spring quarter, to give RSOs greater flexibility in planning events later in the year. The Doomsday Party did not have a specific response to the consequences of impending CTA cuts on student transportation, but Fink hinted that the #173 bus might play a more active role.
The members of Better Slate Than Never said their top three concerns for next year were accessibility, communication, and safety on campus. They suggested expanding the all-night study space in the Regenstein Library, creating a town-meeting type forum for students to express concerns, and working with the Transportation Committee to address the safety concerns brought on by the cuts proposed by the CTA in coming months. Better Slate Than Never also spoke of plans for workshops to help teach RSO leaders how to apply for and obtain funds.