Published April 3, 2013
SG President and VP Debate

The debate between candidates for Student Government President and Vice President was held in the Campus Center’s reading room on March 29. Here, people had a chance to ask the candidates questions and become aware of their platforms for the coming year. Mediated by WITR’s General Manager and fourth year International Studies major Arun Blatchley, four teams sat side by side in a two hour debate.

The candidates for President and Vice president, respectively, are:

  • Second year Software Engineering major and previous Freshman senator, Paul Darragh and second year Information Security and Forensics major and current GCCIS Senator, Nicholas Cifranic.
  • Second Year Liberal Arts exploration and Current Cola Senator Alex Van Hook and fourth year Applied Arts and Science major Timothy Holmes,
  • Third year Management Information Systems major, Shannon Harrington and third year Marketing and current College of Business Senator Lauren Brockbank
  • Third year Industrial Design/Computer Engineering Technology major Tegan Spinner and second year Mechanical Engineering major Laura Arciniegas

The first 15 minutes were dedicated to opening platforms; each team had three minutes to present their campaign goals and vision. Darragh and Cifranic expressed their concern for SG’s invisibility to the students. They also wish to bridge the gap between students and administration. Spinner and Arcinegas informed the audience of their success with the growth of the National Society of Leadership and Success and their desire for SG to outreach more to student organizations and faculty. Harrington and Brockbank expressed four main points to tackle during the year: health and environmental issues, increased outreach to students and organizations, increased student engagement on campus and heightened student awareness of where their tuition goes and what SG does with its funding. Van Hook and Holmes wished to help students and organizations succeed in having better relationships with other organizations and bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.

After the platforms, the actual debate began. The candidates were asked prepared questions in a random order with a minute to respond. No rebuttals were allowed and personal attacks would be pointed out and prevented.

“What population, if any, do you believe is underrepresented and what would you do to ensure their accurate representation?”

  • Darragh & Cifranic: “If I had to say one population at RIT that is extremely underrepresented, it would definitely [be] students at our global campuses.”
  • Spinner & Arciniegas: “I think if you ask me which population is not well presented, I think it’s a pretty obvious one coming from SG. It’s the people who are not as involved, people who are not RIT driven and people who don’t have a lot of school spirit.”
  • Harrington & Brockbank: “I think the most underrepresented people on this campus are the 15000-16000 students that don’t vote in each SG election every year. If you don’t vote you don’t have a voice.”
  • Van Hook & Holmes: “The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Even though we have NTID here and there are a lot of events hosted on campus, not all of them are mainstream and accessible.”
“If elected, how do you plan to collaborate with small groups on campus?
  • VanHook and Holmes: “We will do more personal collaborations. I am always willing to go and be involved, to be the SG representative at organizations or events. If there are smaller events, if they’re struggling with something, we could be an advisor to them. “
  • Darragh and Cifranic: “We want to reach out to groups and go to multiple groups a week. Students might not have time to talk to us, let’s go talk to them and support them. We want to be more supportive and less programming.”
  • Spinner and Arciniegas: “Starting a club this year and growing it has shown me how you can do that. I want to educate people on how to grow their club and make it more NTID — friendly. We want to do training to show clubs and organizations how to include NTID and NTID services so they can be more inclusive.”
  • Harrington and Brockbank: “We knew visiting smaller clubs was essential. So that’s what we’ve been doing. They have different needs. Having training for smaller organizations so they know what services they have access to. We also are thinking about a mentorship to increase awareness of services. We also want to help promote The Link to spread awareness about the small clubs.”

The debate concluded smoothly as the candidates gave their closing statements and the session ended with applause from the audience. The debate recording is posted on the WITR website and a transcript of the debate is available on SG’s website. The audience was reminded to visit the candidate’s websites, read their platforms and most importantly, vote.

Voting for the Student Government candidates will be open through April 4.

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