The clock read 7 p.m. as students packed into the Rat Wednesday night, finding seats wherever possible, for the SG presidential debate.
However, most of these students came to show their support for the candidates they were already endorsing, rather than to use the debate as a means of deciding where to cast their votes.
The moderated questions ranged from leadership experience to on-campus involvement.
At the end of the debate, however, many students were still left with questions.
In fact, many of those present said this year’s debate was not much of a debate at all in that it failed to spark controversy among the candidates. None of the issues were tackled but merely regurgitated from the candidates’ platforms.
Many believe that, because of the lack of challenging questions, candidates were not given the opportunity to stand out amongst each other.
“It was basically rehearsed responses,” said Justin Fahringeo, senior political science major, when asked about his thoughts regarding the debate. “Harder questions need to be asked next time.”
“They all say the same thing but in different ways – I didn’t feel the sincerity and didn’t believe what the candidates were saying,” Fahringeo said.
There were even students from other schools in the audience who had come to get pointers from our debates but left disappointed.
Brian Swensen, a junior at FIU and the campaign manager of FIU’s winning presidential campaign, said he came to compare UM politics to his own school’s way of handling elections.
“Here everything seems very laid back,” Swensen said. “There is no sense of urgency among the candidates.”
“At FIU campaigning is very hostile,” Swensen said.
Yet, despite the lack of actual debating, some students were persuaded by some of the issues that came up during the debate.
“I vote Don Donelson because he seemed the most directive. He was the most centered on one particular issue, while the other candidates were all over the place,” said Aaron Jozseph, sophomore, who had no affiliations with any of the candidates before the debate.
Elections begin next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To vote, stop by the computer voting booths in the UC Breezeway.
Christine Dominguez can be contacted at email@example.com.