Experience, action questioned at debate

POSTED FEB.22 AT 4:25 P.M.

Four days before Student Government elections begin, the three presidential candidates made experience (and lack thereof) a definitive issue in Thursday night’s debate.

A crowd of about 55 students showed up at the I-Lounge in the UC for the SG Presidential Debate.

“[The debate] gives the students the chance to hear from the candidates themselves,” said Megan Jones, head of the Elections Commission and moderator.

The presidential contenders agreed on a few topics, including making recycling a bigger priority, as well as expanding the number of foreign languages offered at UM.

When it came to experience however, the candidates held opposing views.

“I don’t have Student Government experience and I don’t think you need it,” said junior Jeremy Crystal, running on the All About. “I think Student Government leadership has lost touch with the students,” Crystal said.

Brandon Gross, speaker of the senate of SG, defended himself saying, “We fight for the students.”

Dan Lazaro of the Make it Happen for U ticket took a slightly different approach to the previous experience debate.

“We’ve all produced results in all the positions we’ve held,” said Lazaro, referring to his running mates. “Experience only goes as far as results.”

Towards the end of the debate, each candidate mentioned one area they would put particular emphasis on if elected.

“One hundred percent follow through,” said Gross. “We’re definitely committed to the student body.”

Crystal brought up his ticket’s open door policy, inviting students to come into his office “whether they love me or hate me.”

“Hold me accountable,” said Lazaro. “If there is anything that needs to be done, we want you to push us.”

Students in the crowd seemed to agree that the debate gave them a better perspective on the candidates.

“It’s interesting to see differing opinions because their platforms are so similar,” said freshman Rachael Goldberg.

Sophomore Chris Bosma who is still undecided added, “Having them talk in person makes them more real.”

Still, Goldberg added that actions may speak louder than words when casting her vote next week.

“It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it.”

Felipe Yanez may be contacted at f.yanez@umiami.edu.

Clarification: The quote by Dan Lazaro referring to his experience has been clarified.