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Presidential debate addresses student concerns

More than 50 people were in the audience during the second debate of election season, while many walked in and out of the event in a freezing room in the Marshall Student Center. The presidential and vice presidential candidates, who were all present, discussed numerous issues facing students.

The candidates interacted with each other while answering six questions put to them by the event’s sponsor, the Black Student Union.

One question was about what the candidates will do about the departments of Africana Studies and Women’s Studies, which lost funding.

Christopher Leddy, a presidential candidate who is running with Kayla Richmond, said the biggest thing they could do is talk about it.

“We have to make people aware that we have those programs,” he said.

The next candidate, Ralph Reid, who is running with Robin Roup, began his response with: “While I appreciate that answer, I would like to answer the question.”

Reid said what is really important is that student voices are heard on the issue.

“I would rather this University offer a billion majors in weird things like underwater basket weaving, if that was what a student really wanted to study,” he said.

The next time Leddy took the podium, he responded to Reid’s comment.

“I want to thank Ralph (Reid) for calling me out on b.s. in the last question,” Leddy said. “In that 10 minutes of sitting there in shame, I realized I’m not a politician — I’m a student here like all of you.”

Another question concerned the visibility and accessibility of the president and vice president during the school year.

Presidential candidate Christopher Cano, who is running with Jaime Lane, gave his cell phone number to the audience to ensure his accessibility, he said.

“That is going to be the number of your student body president next year,” he said. “And you can call that number at any time to voice your opinion on what is going on on campus.”

Presidential candidate Juan Soltero, who is running with Bruno Di Portigliatti, said communication is an issue.

“I strongly believe in technology. We need to have a basic comment box where you click and you leave a message,” he said.

Near the end of the debate, former Student Body President Garin Flowers stopped the question-and-answer portion to address the candidates.

Flowers said the candidates were attacking each other, which he said was “embarrassing.”

“Who here is perfect?” he said.

He said he advised all the candidates to watch their facts and use common sense.

The next debate is Thursday at 6 p.m. at the WBUL studio in Beef O’ Brady’s. The election is March 2-5.