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Students to cast votes for student body president

Students have different reasons for supporting their choice of candidiates, but they will finally get to cast their votes starting Monday. ORACLE PHOTO/ CHAVELI GUZMAN

After a week of campaigning and debates, USF students will finally get to cast their votes this week for student body president and vice president. While students seem split on two of the tickets, the third seems to be the odd one out. 

Caroline Jackson, a senior majoring in women’s and gender studies, was drawn to Gabby Cruz and Scott Tavlin’s campaign because of their tenacity to engage in difficult conversations. 

“Gabby and Scott believe in a platform that puts sexual assault survivors as a priority from the beginning,” Caroline said. “As a survivor, that means a lot to me.” 

Caroline said she is grateful for humble qualities Cruz instills because she was one of the first people by her side when she became a survivor. According to Jackson, in previous SG politics, addressing sexual assault tends to be an afterthought.

“We need to evolve the conversation from awareness to active policy change and that is something survivors cannot do alone,” Jackson said. 

Zinah Haj, a sophomore majoring in Public Relations, also places confidence in Cruz and Tavlin’s ability to advocate for sexual harassment. 

“I have nothing against Moneer and Kent, but I really liked Gabby and Scott’s zero tolerance policy for men and women who have to be forced to see the person who assaulted them every day,” Haj said.  

Haj said she applauds Cruz and Tavlin’s dedication to campaigning prolonged hours outside The Hub and their amenable attitudes toward their volunteers which correlated to what she believes is a clean campaign.

After the commotion surrounding last year’s election, Nyasha Madzingaidzi, a senior majoring in biomedical science, was attracted to Moneer Kheireddine and Shaquille Kent’s campaign because of the integrity she believes they have.  

Last year was the first time Madzingaidzi voted and it was because of Kheireddine and Kent’s platform on diversity.

“I’m loyal to them, so even after the campaign, I’ll vote for them no matter what,” Madzingaidzi said.  

Gage Giunta, a senior majoring in management and marketing, said he presumed he wanted to vote for Kheireddine, but was noticeably wearing a pink Gabby Cruz and Scott Tavlin sticker. Giunta said he has been friends with Kheireddine for four years, but he will not vote based on friendship, as he said Kheireddine has to earn his vote.

“From the future president, I’d like to see a visible change,” Giunta said. “The only thing I’ve seen from Moneer’s term is an increase in the paper you can print in the library.”

Stephan Zawadzki, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry, favored Cruz and Tavlin’s campaign because of the big brother attitude the prospective vice president radiated. 

Zawadzki said he voted for Kheireddine and Kent last year, but after he compared both campaigns he preferred the family aspect he said he believes Cruz and Tavlin embody. 

“When I first started here, Scott gave me a helping hand,” Zawadzki said. “You can tell he wants to create family with all 60,000 of us.”

Alexander Philipp Frei, a sophomore majoring in economics, said he supports the current vice president because of his ambition to acclimate international students to USF. 

“I am a student from Germany, and I’ve never been that much into politics,” Frei said. “After seeing Kent’s contribution and wanting to help us, it made me want to get involved.”

Frei said getting rid of the minus in the grading system and making an effort to achieve a cheaper textbook price is why he supports Kheireddine’s platform.

“I’ve seen Moneer do so much in one year, so I believe in him to do it again,” Frei said.

Alexis Chevene, a freshman majoring in psychology, said she is voting for Kheireddine and Kent based on personal accommodations that will minimize her frustrations. 

“I’m living off campus next year and the partnership with Lyft will reduce the lack of parking issue,” Chevene said. 

After the first presidential debate, Chevene changed her vote, as she believed Cruz and Tavlin’s campaign seemed mechanical. Chevene said she has more respect for Kheireddine because of his previous SG experience.

Kiran Mohan, a junior majoring in microbiology, originally was going to vote for Cruz and Tavlin because of their platform to not have tests during homecoming week. 

“Moneer’s goals are more realistic and helpful to the whole campus,” Mohan said. “He (Kheireddine) has experience, so he knows what he can or cannot obtain.”

Mohan said he hopes Kheireddine can implement a portion of Cruz’ policies if he is elected because he believes she has standpoints that could benefit the USF student body.

There was a noticeable disconnect from students when asked about Peter Corsa’s and Julius Jackson’s campaign as they either weren’t aware of their platform or disliked it. 

“I really have no opinion. I don’t know much about them (Corsa and Julius),” Taj said. 

Zawadzki said the campaign is based off self-interest, as he said Corsa wants to increase the prestige of the college for his degree.

“From what I gathered from the presidential debate, he (Corsa) was thinking of himself,” Zawadzki said. “He just wants to get a better job afterwards, instead of trying to better the whole campus.”