The Black Student Union’s annual student body presidential debate perennially forces candidates to face controversial issues.
On Monday night the BSU held the third and final debate for the student body presidential elections on the second floor of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. Each year the BSU holds this debate, which is open to all students, in hopes of raising voter awareness among the student body.
This year’s debate topics ranged from candidates’ ability to promote diversity among the faculty to the newly formed Ethos party.
Ethos was formed by leaders in the Greek community as a way to unify the Greek vote and attempt to gather students with similar political goals. Ethos came to be the most heavily debated topic of the evening because presidential candidate Kyle Myers is said to be one of the founding fathers of the organization.
While most candidates claim to be opposed to the party, Myers said it wasn’t always that way. According to Myers, two of the three other tickets originally asked him for help in acquiring the support of Ethos but are now denying they ever did.
“People right now are very afraid of the name Ethos, but they wouldn’t be afraid and they wouldn’t have any issue if 11 individual organizations said ‘Yes, we support Kyle and (running mate Aadil) Modi; but it’s because it’s one organization that has all 11 of those behind them (that) there’s this mystery behind it of what it’s going to do and is it going to be evil,” Myers said.
Myers wasn’t the only one feeling the heat during the debate. Presidential candidate Frank Harrison and running mate Faran Abbasi were questioned by candidate Ben Sens about the senate’s use of Activity & Service fees. Harrison is the senate president, and Abbasi is a senator.
In a controversial decision, the senate approved $30,000 of A&S monies for use by the executive branch in co-sponsoring a concert being organized by the Greek Week Committee.A&S money comes directly from tuition paid by students and is allocated by the senate.
“We just basically want to make sure the funds are spent appropriately and not for special interest needs in Student Government,” Sens said of his challenge to the Harrison ticket.
Harrison said that the money allocated for the concert should not be considered a special interest case because the event is open to all USF students, not just Greeks.
One topic all tickets agreed on, though, was the hope that more students will participate and vote than in years past.
“We are going to be out there 24/7 (for the next two days) urging students to vote,” Abbasi said. “Even if they don’t vote for us, we still need them to vote.”
In hopes of encouraging students to make their voices heard in today’s election, presidential candidate Jeremy Bills and running mate Joy Gamble-George concluded with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr: “The biggest problem is silence.”