SGA Candidates Debate

Photo by Casey Gomez

Candidates for undergraduate president and vice president convened at a debate co-hosted by the Technique and the Student Government Association (SGA) on March 7. The debate, which can be found in its entirety online, featured structured questions by moderators, targeted questions for each ticket, and audience input made possible by two Catchboxes. Responses have been summarized for length.

Moderator Question 1: What aspects of your platform do you believe can be realistically implemented within your first 100 days in office?

Lisenby/Brogan: “In the first 100 days of office, we have particular things we hope to tackle. First and foremost, the political advocacy portion of our platform is very unique to us. Within the first few months over the
summer and starting on the first day of school, we hope to bring back the student lobby board, where it can properly train students on how to be politically active, attend committee meetings, speak up at hearings, and really engage in the legislative coming up in the spring, because right now we’re a rather unengaged community.”

Francis/Liu: Emphasized that their platform was based on specific policies and action items that they planned to implement during their administration, explaining that they had included goals and plans they felt could be realistically implemented. In particular, they highlighted their plan to create an inter-organizational networking program for student organizations.

Peramanu/Wang: Suggested that they could evaluate and re-negotiate contracts with Tech’s Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) and Dining departments to improve the quality of service provided by contractors such as Sodexo and Groome Transportation, the primary service providers for Dining and PTS, respectively.

They also suggested that they would unify the outreach programs of various organizations into a single group while simultaneously introducing efforts to more actively engage SGA with the student body.

Moderator Question 2: Assuming HB 51 becomes law, how would you work with sexual assault victims and OSI to ensure appropriate interim disciplinary action would take place in those cases?

Francis/Liu: “We do want to educate a lot of our students on what resources that we currently have that they can use; going to the counselling center, going to Stamps psychiatry if needed, and getting the help that our students need in order for them to have the best Georgia Tech student experience that we have. … If this does happen, we want to look forward into working with our Counselling Center to make sure that they have the resources to support our students when they’re needed. …Working with the legislatures so we can continue to improve our processes and our students can get the best experience, so that if something does happen to them, they’re protected and they’re taken care of. Because ultimately at the end of the day, if our students don’t know what’s going on, we’re not doing our job.”

Lisenby/Brogan: Highlighted her experience working with the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) as a member of the Undergraduate Judiciary Cabinet and argued that her experience would be a valuable asset in working with groups such as OSI in adjusting to the bill’s requirements and
assisting survivors. Both Lisenby and Brogan also suggested that they would work with departments such as the Counseling Center to ensure that victims of sexual assault would be properly protected under the new law.

Peramanu/Wang: Primarily chose to offer objections to HB 51, saying that they would advocate against the passage of the bill and ensure that students were aware of how the bill would impact them if it passed. They indicated that they wanted to ensure Tech had the necessary power to investigate and resolve cases of sexual assault and continue to encourage survivors of assault to come forward, issues which they believe HB 51 will negatively
impact. The two proposed to improve peer health advisory programs in the case that the bill did become law.

Moderator Question 3: What challenges do you anticipate in representing the interests of Tech’s diverse range of races, majors, and levels of campus involvement?

Peramanu/Wang: “I think the big one that Richard and I are trying to work on is trying to bridge the gap between different communities. So we all kind of have our own little bubbles of people that we like to talk to, people that we’re more closely associated with — we want to allow SGA to become the microphone for those organizations. Allow them to shout out to the world that ‘Hey, we have these events going on. Come see a little bit about our
culture, come see a little bit about our organization.’ We think that’s the real role of SGA; we want to build that transparent bond between us and the students.”

Francis/Liu: Expressed a desire to facilitate communication between student organizations and to connect students to organizations on campus that align with their interests. They also suggested that communication with students could be improved by increasing usage of OrgSync as a platform for aggregating information from and about student organizations. Both Leanne and Apollo said that communication between SGA and the student body could be vastly improved, especially by replacing the weekly newsletter with a different form of outreach.

Lisenby/Brogan: Proposed the creation of a new committee specifically for diversity organizations on campus in order to improve communication with and representation of those groups in SGA. Lisenby emphasized her history of working with diversity groups and encouraged voters to look into the background of each candidate in regards to diversity. Lisenby and Brogan also suggested that they would reach out to student groups across campus in order to improve communications between SGA and the campus community.

Elections will take place from March 13–16 on, with results being announced at an SGA event late in the day on the 16th.