Candidates Establish Themselves on the Debate Stage

Students hoping to be the next student body president had an opportunity to speak to the student body Thursday night at SGA’s Presidential Debate. Each candidate and their vice president discussed their plans for the upcoming school year and reflected on changes that took place with the current administration.

Students hoping to be the next student body president had an opportunity to speak to the student body Thursday night at SGA’s Presidential Debate. Each candidate and their vice president discussed their plans for the upcoming school year and reflected on changes that took place with the current administration.

A view of the stage before the debate

This election has three candidates from different backgrounds, diversities and interests on campus running for the office of Student Body President and Executive Vice President. The winner of the election will. Candidates include juniors Pamela Armas and Louis Higuero, juniors Mark Palmer and John Sasso and junior and sophomore Joe Sarci and Roda Mohammad. The debate was moderated by junior Tara Guainamo and Political Science professor Dr. Elizabeth Kaknes. The topics discussed range in a variety of topics from future administration to analyzing the newly approved Strategic Plan.

One of the most discussed issues of the evening was that of priority points. Some candidates were in favor of removing the system and moving to a lottery system. Mohammad mentioned “Marist has some of the best housing of all campuses. We have to remember that some people are living without a roof over their head. If where you are housed is the most pressing issue, people need to get their priorities checked”. Some candidates discussed a hybrid system of priority points and lottery. Palmer stated “By having priority points, it encourages student engagement on campus”.

Other issues of the night included discussions regarding Title IX training and the rise in sexual assault on campus. The Marist Circle reported that “two dating violence offenses, two instances of fondling, and six rapes on campus in 2017– an increase from the 4 reported for the previous two years”. Since the report, it has been a highly controversial topic on the campus and within the community. When asked about this, Sasso commented “The best way to address it is through education, you need to educate people on not only the detriment but the consequences, what you are putting that person through”.

Candidates Mark Palmer and John Sasso

Students also had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. When sophomore Leo Ruiz asked about what the candidates are going to do regarding disabilities on campus, Armas commented “I had a peer that is in a wheel chair that has to turn her desk around and she said it was too expensive to get a wheel chair accessbible desk. We need to make sure issues are being heard”. Palmer and Sasso also resonated that they plan to address this issue while also establishing a priority registration system for those students with disabilities.

Throughout the evening, discussions of campus issues from student life to faculty were debated and argued by the candidates. And after hours of opinions and thoughts, it will be up to the general public to cast their ballots and elect their choice of candidate.

There are three candidates who are running for the position: juniors Pamela Armas and Louis Higuero, juniors Mark Palmer and John Sasso and junior and sophomore Joe Sarci and Roda Mohammad. The debate was moderated by junior Tara Guainamo and Political Science professor Dr. Elizabeth Kaknes. The topics discussed range in a variety of topics from future administration to analyzing the newly approved Strategic Plan.

One of the most discussed issues of the evening was that of priority points. Some candidates were in favor of removing the system and moving to a lottery system. Mohammad mentioned “Marist has some of the best housing of all campuses. We have to remember that some people are living without a roof over their head. If where you are housed is the most pressing issue, people need to get their priorities checked”. Some candidates discussed a hybrid system of priority points and lottery. Palmer stated “By having priority points, it encourages student engagement on campus”.

Other issues of the night included discussions regarding Title IX training and the rise in sexual assault on campus. The Marist Circle reported that “two dating violence offenses, two instances of fondling, and six rapes on campus in 2017– an increase from the 4 reported for the previous two years”. When asked about this, Sasso commented “The best way to address it is through education, you need to educate people on not only the detriment but the consequences, what you are putting that person through”

Students also had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates. When sophomore Leo Ruiz asked about what the candidates are going to do regarding disabilities on campus, Armas commented “I had a peer that is in a wheel chair that has to turn her desk around and she said it was too expensive to get a wheel chair accessbible desk. We need to make sure issues are being heard”. Palmer and Sasso also resonated that they plan to address this issue while also establishing a priority registration system for those students with disabilities.

Throughout the evening, discussions of campus issues from student life to faculty were debated and argued by the candidates. And after hours of opinions and thoughts, it will be up to the general public to cast their ballots and elect their choice of candidate as the next student body president.

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