All of the candidates running for student body president and vice president gathered for the last debate before the election next week. The debate was the third in as many nights for the candidates. Hosted by the Election Rules Committee, it was very similar to Wednesday night’s debate. The questions were written in advance by the ERC.
Last night’s debate was more amiable than Wednesday’s. Presidential candidates Brandon Faza and Michael Johnson seemed to put the heated discussions from the night before behind them.
Presidential candidate Andrew Aubery said that he “appreciated that there was very little mudslinging at this debate,” in his closing statement.
The debate was also different in that the questions were more thought provoking, though not necessarily “loaded.”
Following the debate, presidential candidate Maxon Victor said he was glad that “it challenged our creativity.”
He was referring to a different palette of questions that probably no candidate was properly prepared for. Often the first candidate who had to answer was, without complaints from the other candidates, given some time to think about an answer.
A question that seemed to take all of the candidates as well as the audience by surprise was, “If you were not running, who would you vote for?”
The result of the mock election? The candidates chose Victor.
“If we were not to run in this election … we would be looking for someone with not just character and experience, but track record and somebody who is fun as well,” said Faza. “I definitely think we would vote for Maxon and Sameer (Ahmed, Victor’s running mate).”
Throughout the evening, candidates told the audience about various programs they are working on and want to work on. The usual suspects were represented: keeping students informed, school pride, organizing student organizations and getting USF more recognized in the community and the nation.
“I want them (the rest of the nation) to say U-S-F, go Bulls and go Tampa,” said Aubery.
Another issue addressed at all the debates and by multiple candidates has been academic advising.
“Right now around our campus the stereotype is what?” asked Gilzean. “USF — you stay forever,” and that was something he said he wanted to work on.
A few less-commonly talked about projects were also broached.
Presidential candidate Silverlee Hernandez’s running mate Matthew Couret mentioned that their ticket was working on getting a live bull for USF sporting events and that he had already contacted a breeder.
M. Johnson spoke about a “Bulls at Busch Gardens” program he has been working on. He said it was almost ready to go and would be a “turnkey operation” if he was elected. The program would involve getting students into Busch Gardens during extremely slow weekdays for heavily discounted or free admission.
The candidates closed this final debate with one last appeal to the students to not only vote for them, but to just vote in general.SG elections will be held on March 1 and 2.