Student Government held a debate, overseen by the Elections Commission, between vice-presidential candidates Kingshook De, Luis DeMendoza III and Mariana Rego on Feb. 22 at the Rat.
“We feel it ran really smoothly,” said Martin Cruz-Mesa, a senior and the chair of the Elections Commission. “Each of the candidates did exactly what they were supposed to do. They focused on the issues and they answered the questions appropriately.”
There was no back-and-forth debate between the candidates; they took turns answering questions from the Commission and audience posed by Cruz-Mesa, mostly citing their experience and platform goals.
All of the candidates said that they will reach out to students for ideas and work for their benefit.
“We are trying to redefine the undergraduate experience and make life more enjoyable for the students,” said Rego, who is on Mike Levine’s ticket. “Student Government needs to implement [policies] that make life easier. I believe we should be reaching out to students.”
De, who is running on Annette Ponnock’s ticket, echoed this sentiment.
“Putting you first,” he said. “What does that mean? Why is that our ticket? We’re talking about putting the student body first.”
DeMendoza, who is on Dennis Brown’s ticket, said he and his running mates will be a government for the people and by the people.
“We want an e-mail system that actually tells you what’s getting done,” he said.
De also said that there is room improvement in SG.
“I don’t feel that Cabinet has been effective because I feel there has been a disconnect between Senate and Cabinet,” he said. He added that students should be encouraged to participation more in SG proceedings. “The only people who know [what’s going on] is Senate.”
Rego said that she has worked on improving communication between the branches of SG and wants to continue doing so.
“I want them to be able to coordinate their projects so they can be constructive,” she said.
DeMendoza admitted he does not have past experience with SG like the other candidates, but that he will be able to get done what needs to be done if elected.
“I’ll be able to let people know what Cabinet is up to,” he said. “It is important for everyone to know what’s going on.”
He also emphasized his ticket’s non-Greek status, saying that 90 percent of student body is represented by Greeks there is a good amount of ideas not being heard.
“I feel that there have never been candidates quite like us because we’re actually going to be in touch with our constituency,” he said. “All of our key points are from actual students; we didn’t come with our idea just by brainstorming.”
Most students who attended wore T-shirts in support of one of the three tickets, but there were a few who attended independent of the campaigns.
“I thought it was very interesting,” Deirdre Schwiring, senior, said. “I am sad that more people didn’t show up who weren’t already kind of decided on what ticket they’re pushing for.”
Juan Martell, junior, also felt the attendance was lacking, but enjoyed the debate.
“I thought it was good,” he said. He added, “The turn-out was kind of sad though; there weren’t a lot of people.”
Greg Linch can be contacted at email@example.com.