SGA Hosts Presidential/Vice-Presidential Debates

Todd Kleiboer, Web Editor

Below is a slideshow of the candidates’ photos.

Presidential and Vice Presidential debates were held for the Student Government Association (SGA) elections, and candidates explored current topics such as the upcoming fee referendum to more personal questions that asked what qualities made them a better candidate than the other.

Presidential candidates were Tamandria Brown and Caleb Farris, and the Vice Presidential candidates were Alee Corrales and Joshua Skinner.

The Vice Presidential candidates stepped onto the debate stage first, and both candidates cited personal experiences as leaders among the student body as qualifications for the position. Alee Corrales referenced her leadership activity in the Baptist Student Ministry, and Skinner also noted his own activity as an AAMMP mentor.

Skinner had a more holistic approach to the student body and wanted to make students more self-reliant by pushing student involvement in organizations or hosting more career-oriented events with faculty involvement, and he showed his support for the athletic fee increase because it would lessen the time and money needed to earn a degree.

“We need to led them to a point that they can do it on their down,” Skinner said. “I want the individual to leave this campus knowing that they can go out in the real world and be successful.”

Corrales wanted more student activity among typically faculty-only activity such as search committees that hire faculty, and when asked what the university should prioritize over the next year, she advised that tuition costs should stay down and stated her opposition to the proposed athletic fee increase.

“Because of that [lack of student representation on search committees], the faculty positions often do not properly reflect the demographics of the student body,” Corrales said. “SGA could strongly request to the administration that the students have representation on these committees so they can make sure that these faculty represent us.”

After a short intermission, Presidential candidates Farris and Brown took the debate stage, and the debate was in much the same style as the candidates answered roughly the same questions and explained their qualifications for the position of president. Brown stated that her work in her sorority Kappa Delta and with a variety of people has helped her be able to be more compassion and understanding than Farris, and Farris said that his experiences as President of the Kappa Alpha Psi and AAMMP mentor are prime examples of his suitability for the position.

Both candidates were in support of the athletic fee increase, and Brown, like Corrales, wanted more faculty and administrative involvement with the students by hosting events that bring together deans of different colleges to meet with the students within those colleges. She also wanted to be more transparent as a leader of SGA and inform students about resources at their disposal.

“A lot of the time we really promote students getting active on campus, but I also want to encourage the administration to be active with our students,” Brown said. “I want them to get out of their offices and walk around campus and talk with the students. This gives the students the ability to voice their concerns.”

In his arguments, Farris stressed the idea of inclusion over diversity on campus because he felt as if the campus had become less welcoming to students. Oriented more toward changes that affect students, Farris pushed for more student involvement and perhaps better student-faculty relations.

“I want to make sure that every student that comes to this university feel welcome,” Farris said. “We want to assure students that they have everything that they need at this university, and we want let them know that we really are the university that cares for the students.”

Elections are open Wednesday at midnight and close on Thursday at 5 p.m.