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Candidates endure busy night

Wednesday was a busy day for student body presidential and vice presidential candidates. All the tickets went to a question-and-answer session hosted by the College Republicans at 7 p.m. in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. Immediately following that was a debate hosted by the Residence Hall Association in Holly J.

The College Republicans’ question-and-answer session drew about 50 students, who were all allowed to direct questions at the tickets. The session allowed the candidates to reiterate some of their basic talking points.

Presidential candidate Maxon Victor spoke on the importance of campus diversity.

“We recognize the problem (of diversity). We want to make this cohesive,” said Victor. He added later at the RHA debate that his focus was “not just diversity, but versatility,” and proceeded to list the wide array of organizations he and running mate Sameer Ahmed are involved in.

Presidential candidate Andrew Aubery continued to point out how he believes his current position as vice president would help him if elected.

“I know who to talk to to get things done,” Aubery said.

Presidential candidate Glenn Gilzean worked on promoting his campaign goals before the College Republicans, of which he is a member.

The question-and-answer session didn’t last very long and upon its completion, the candidates headed to Holly J for the RHA debate.

After the candidates left the College Republicans’ question-and-answer session, the club members voted on who they felt was the best candidate. Before they voted, though, senate President Stavros Papendreou spoke to the club about what he felt were issues with some of the candidates.

First he spoke on Andrew Aubery’s running mate, Student Government senator Jessica Asuncion’s attendance record in the senate. According to Papandreou, she has missed about 40 percent of the legislation this year, and at the end of her best year in senate, “she was present for only 64 percent of the legislation.”

He called the votes cast by Xavier Johnson, Glenn Gilzean’s running mate, personally “alarming.” He pointed to a vote against allowing students to vote for interim senators, which was at the time a change from letting senators choose new interim senators, among others.

He also talked about presidential candidate Brandon Faza’s sponsorships.

“They have all these sponsors, and my question is, what is their responsibility — and ultimately the responsibility of Student Government — toward those sponsors?” Papendreou asked. “I know Margarita Mama’s and Blockbuster are not just throwing money away for no reason.”

He added that no SG official is allowed sign binding contracts in situations like those.Next was the RHA debate, during which presidential candidates Michael Johnson and Brandon Faza engaged in a heated debate over previous involvement in SG as well as the Safe Park program spearheaded by Faza.The program is intended to have the parking lots on campus patrolled.

Johnson pointed to an increase in overall parking lot crime over the past year as a failing of the Safe Park program. He also said that it is destined to be dismantled because of its shortcomings.

Faza responded to the claims of Safe Park’s impending doom by saying that the senate had just voted to continue the program.

Faza responded by saying that though parking lot crime has risen overall on campus, it has been lowered where the Safe Park program is in place.

This miniature debate led to a question for all the candidates about the future of the Safe Park program.

“It shouldn’t be dismantled,” presidential candidate Silverlee Hernadez said. The other candidates, even M. Johnson, echoed his sentiments and offered ideas for retooling the program.

The next debate will occur tonight at 7 in CPR Room 103, and is sponsored by the Election Rules Committee.