Candidates running for Students’ Association president and vice president had a chance to respond to questions and participate in a debate yesterday in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons.

The three pairs of candidates running for president and vice president are sophomores Patrick Chase and Tal Cushmaro, juniors Mustafa Rehmani and Brett Young and juniors Eric Sansky and Tyler Socash. The candidates reiterated their platforms and elaborated on the plans that they have laid out for the coming year.

The common issues discussed were how to better communicate with the school, how to increase school spirit and what steps to take regarding meal plans.

SA Treasurer and senior Susan Barnish commented on the event.

“It is always difficult when looking at a written platform to get a good idea of what each candidate will really do,” Barnish said.

“Having the opportunity to hear them speak and think on their feet is really important to making a decision about which candidate to support.”

Sophomore Brandon Broadus, a candidate for SA Senate, agreed with Barnish. Broadus felt that the event was important because it allowed students to learn more about the candidates.

“The most important thing is that they are trying to reach out to the students,” Broadus said.

He agreed with the debating candidates that getting students involved is key to the future of student government. All of the candidates focused on the importance of communication and how it will play a role in next year’s student government.

Some of the ideas presented included setting up office hours so that students can meet with the executive board on a regular basis, setting specific monthly goals to maintain focus and inviting students to come to SA meetings.

“We are at a crucial crossroads for this school,” Rehmani said.

Chase seconded his fellow candidate’s opinion. “There is a lot of work to be done,” he said.

In their closing statements, Sansky and Socash reiterated their plans for the future, including providing more options to students in choosing a meal plan and stressing the issues of school spirit and reviving D-Day.

Throughout the debate, this ticketed pair demonstrated their commitment to increasing school spirit as well as the visibility of the SA that everyone will be aware of its existence and its role in their lives.

The second ticket, Rehmani and Young, focused more on why students should vote for them rather than reiterating their plans that they said can be found in their platform. They spoke about the aggressive tactics that they would use to accomplish their goals. The team stated that they felt they are personable, able to work well together, have experience and are respectful, honest and mature. Rehmani said that he felt that he could connect with anyone and that he would use that in addition to his commitment to diversification to better the school.

According to Cushmaro, on the final ticket, he and Chase have worked together before and are both extremely involved in extracurricular activities. The two sophomores spoke about their plans to change the dining program and engage students in community outreach and environmental sustainability. He also said that D-Day is a day that must be remembered and maintained.

Cushmaro made a point of saying that candidates are focused, responsible and willing to do that which is necessary to achieve results. He said that the president and vice president are there to serve the students. Chase said that they will set goals and get results.

Senator and senior Ari Stillman had a positive response to the debate.

“This forum provided an opportunity for the candidates to answer pointed and general questions regarding their platforms and was an essential venue for the students to really understand what sort of advocacy is campaigning for their leadership,” Stillman said.

Considering who she thought would function best in the executive position, Barnish expressed her opinions about the candidates. “While I think Mustafa’s charisma would make him an excellent leader and Eric’s focus on spirit brings something new and important to the table, it seems to me that Pat and Tal have the experience, both working with each other and with administrators and the Students’ Association, to get things done,” Barnish said.

Current SA Vice President and junior Janna Gewirtz summed up her view on the success of the debate. “I think people did really well,” Gewirtz said. “I think what they said was expected.”

Wisch is a member of the class of 2011.



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