Candidates Debate the Issues at SGA Forum
By April C. Thornton
Some of BSU's distinguished students gathered March 30 in the Special Collections Room in the Thurgood Marshall University Library to witness the debate between candidates for SGA President and Vice President 2010-2011.
Candidates vying for SGA President and Vice President are Kirk Pressley and Jamin Gallman of the C.O.R.E. Team (Captivating, Obtaining, Representing and Executing) C.O.R.E Team and Kevin Thomas and Maurice Robinson from the Proceeding to Perfect Purpose Team. Let the debate begin.
William Ridley, assistant director of Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug (ATOD) Prevention Center was the moderator for the debate. Before the debate took place, Ridley clearly explained the rules and regulations. The teams were asked to debate the same 10 questions in a two-minute period.
Ridley asked each team to describe its platform. The Proceeding to Perfect Purpose campaign's objective is to connect with the BSU community by increasing student involvement, better assist organizations on campus and enhance the green program, among other initiatives.
The C.O.R.E Team's campaign objective is to unite the university at its core, improve the Bulldog experience, bridge the administrative and student gap, SGA reform, and leadership summits, among other programs.
"As president and vice president of the Student Government Association, what are your plans to increase student involvement within the campus community?" asked Ridley. Pressley said they plan to form a student base campaign to address student issues on campus. Every student on campus can give their ideas on how BSU can increase student involvement.
Robinson said that his team has a "strong leadership pool" in several organizations on campus and we must advertise and display these organizations in a positive light to enhance leadership and participation from students. He gives a brief example on how the New Student Orientation (NSO) organization fair encouraged students to get involve on campus early.
As Ridley proceeded to ask questions, the audience was shocked when Thomas referred to his running mate as Mo instead of Maurice twice. There were times when Thomas frustration got the best of him. During one incident, Thomas said, "Y'all got to get a big clock, so we can see it next time." Robinson kept his composure and displayed a great argument throughout the debate.
Ridley asked, "The Student Government Association handles almost a half million dollar budget, as president and vice president, what is your financial plan?"
Thomas stated that his team would have to be more responsible and make sure each organization is getting the funds they need. Robinson claimed that they will put money aside for student satisfaction and for leadership and networking conferences.
Gallman has an advantage over the other team because he currently holds the position as SGA Treasurer, so he is familiar with budgeting. He believes that there should be a separate homecoming budget and a budget that help various organizations on campus. Gallman understands that only time and preparation will help accommodate BSU organizations and events into the budget. In addition, Pressley said we should utilize the money we do have.
From the beginning towards the end of the debate, the C.O.R.E Team arguments grew stronger. They stressed important facts and campus problems they were currently solving.
Ridley asked, "There is a very high sentiment of disconnect between the SGA and the student body. How do you plan to restore the creditability of the SGA in the eyes of the students?"
Pressley stated that the student body and SGA are connection was highlighted during the "We Run This" rally. He emphasized it can be better by structuring more events and informing students about what SGA is doing. Pressley said, we will captivate the students, we will obtain aspects and represent each and every student on our campus and we will execute this with all the students of the university.
Robinson explained how he conducted a survey asking 50 freshmen, "How many times have they interacted with SGA office and SGA officials?" Sadly, 43 percent of freshmen answered 0-4 times. Robinson went on to say, "That is a problem we need to focus on, although we have made giant strides in the right direction we still have a long way to go."
Students were encouraged to vote on April 22. Voting sites for commuters will be located in the CLT building and voting sites for residents will be located in the Wiseman Student Center.