Candidates engage in campus debate

The two undergraduate student body presidential candidates, Hunter Hammond and Eran Mordel, and their running mates, Kia Andrews and Amit Khanduri, participated in a Tuesday morning debate over a variety of campus issues as voters prepared to go to the polls on Friday, April 6.

The candidates took the opportunity to present their platforms to a general audience. Both candidates were able to engage directly with one another regarding issues such as dining and improving the engagement between SGA and the student body at large.

“What we hope to do is have more healthy dining options,” Hammond said. “What we also want to have is more flexibility in dining options so people aren’t locked into a certain system.”

Mordel felt that a it was best to keep, but to rethink, the current set of services.

“[It’s important] to realize what resources we have,” Mordel said. “There’s a huge contradiction when you say students are paying too much, but you want to revamp the entire food service on campus and bring new services on campus.”

Near the end of the debate, the candidates discussed ways of improving SGA’s engagement with the student body. Khanduri suggested using comment boxes and a “filter-free feedback forum” to increase the approachability of SGA.

Andrews felt these ideas were not enough.

“Although these ideas are great, they haven’t implemented anything yet,” Andrews said. “I’ve talked to friends who are athletes, who are international students, and they don’t even know what SGA is, they don’t know how to vote, they don’t know anything about what SGA is. And a comment box is not something that athletes are going to use.”

Instead, she suggested a more proactive approach through reaching out and letting these people know what exactly SGA can do for them.

Some members of the audience saw a distinction between the two campaigns.

“It was surprising how much the candidates aligned on issues, but the big issue is how you’re going to go about solving these issues,” said Jacob Tzegaegbe, a CE grad student. “That’s where I saw the big difference between the two — one ticket who put a lot of thought into this and the other who focused on execution and direction.”

Others used the debate as a way to learn more about the issues.

“It fulfilled my needs, most of the questions I had were answered and it opened up a few things that I didn’t really know before the debate,” said Luis Hasbun, a second-year CE major.