The two candidates for president of Eastern Michigan University’s student government held a debate in the Student Center Wednesday in front of a crowd of around 20 people.
Desmond Miller, 19, the current student body vice president, and Joshua Lowe, 21, a secondary education social studies major, and their running mates answered questions and occasionally responded to comments from their opposition.
Among the issues brought up were the candidates’ experience, what they wanted to focus on the most if elected and the amount of money spent on EMU’s athletic programs.
Experience was the subject brought up the most during the debate. Each candidate mentioned previously doing work as advocates and lobbyists for student groups and organizations.
All of the candidates were asked about their familiarity with EMU’s student government rules.
Brianna Siler, 19, a sophomore occupational therapy major and Lowe’s running mate, admitted she was unfamiliar with the rules.
“I am new to this, but I will catch on quickly,” she said. “Even though I don’t know them now, I will soon. Trust me.”
Miller’s running mate, 20-year-old Antonino Monea, who is the current student government director of political action and one of the authors of the student government’s current rules, said he thinks he and Miller have more experience.
Siler countered Miller and Monea’s comments.
“You need experience to get experience,” she said. “I’ll do just fine.”
The two candidates were asked what the biggest initiatives they wanted to spearhead if elected.
Miller said he wanted to increase community involvement among students and student organizations, and to improve EMU’s academic advising for students.
Lowe answered with a single word: “Parking.”
He went into further detail on the subject, saying he wanted to reduce the cost of parking hang tags to what it was a few years ago, a reduction of about $50.
On the issue of sports and athletic programs at EMU, both parties said they considered the amount of money spent on athletic programs was too high.
“If the number is 1-in-5 dollars, that is a really scary number, and we need to get that number down,” Lowe said.
“We are here for education first,” Miller said.
Monea said, “It’s important that we recognize all things and not just sports.”
The two candidates agreed on many of the subjects brought up during the debate, and spent some time talking about what they have campaigned on.
Miller and Monea have campaigned on implementing a series of initiatives including:
· Amplifying academic affairs at EMU that would eventually allow students to obtain long-term advising and register for classes one year in advance
· Easier access to portals on the campus website
· Improving the relationships between EMU and the surrounding communities
· Simplifying voter registration for students
· Creating a student participant survey that would focus on student interests to match them with different clubs and organizations oon campus
· Implementing free student bus passes
· Improving parking
Lowe and Siler have campaigned on:
· Promoting and strengthening relationships between student government and other student organizations via improved communication
· Lowering parking costs and allowing resident students to pay by the semester
· Increasing student awareness of academic and financial issues
· Pushing EMU’s IT Department and campus advisers to create a common advising drives for students
Both parties encouraged students to take a closer look at the respective party’s platforms, and urged students to vote for the party they identified the most with.
Students will be able to vote electronically by logging into their my.emich.edu accounts. Once logged in, they will automatically be presented with a ballot. Voting begins March 27 at 8 a.m. and will last until 8 p.m. the next day.
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