Presidential hopefuls square off

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March 27, 2007

1:33 PM

SA president and vice president candidates sophomores Zach Pilchen and Valerie Hopkins faced off against opponents juniors Brad Potter and Brett Phillips in the SA presidential debate Sunday at 7 p.m. in Lodge 1.

p. The debate consisted of five-minute opening and closing responses, 10 questions posed to both tickets by moderator and Professor of Government Clay Clemens and roughly 45 minutes of audience questions.

p. Throughout the debate, both tickets cited the lack of diversity and student involvement in SA as one of their greatest concerns.

p. “We are appalled by the scant representation of women in the SA,” Hopkins said, later noting that this lack of diversity is what convinced her to run on Pilchen’s ticket.

p. “We promise the most diverse cabinet in SA history,” Pilchen said.

p. Potter and Phillips reciprocated the desire for a more diverse SA. “The most important issue is communicating with the 99 percent of students not involved with SA,” Phillips said. In an effort to reach out to clubs and organizations, Potter and Phillips proposed the “Tribe Vibe” — a program in which the SA would “highlight” an on-campus event for students to attend every week, according to Phillips.

p. Potter and Phillips questioned Pilchen’s limited senate experience and Hopkins’ lack of any SA record. Phillips stressed the importance of “knowing how the senate works, its bylaws and its history.” Pilchen and Hopkins noted that their ticket would bring a fresh perspective and the student voice back into the SA.

p. “They’ve never been an outsider. They don’t know what it’s like. I do,” Hopkins said.

p. While Pilchen and Hopkins spent most of the debate focusing on initiatives ranging from implementing a “Tribe-Wide Service Day” — where students would be given a holiday from classes to participate in local community service — to petitioning for student access to course syllabi and textbooks prior to registration, Potter and Phillips noted that their platform prioritizes issues “that affect students day-to-day,” Porter said.

p. Potter and Phillips said that they would petition the College to join the Chicago Climate Exchange and work to implement their flex-car program.

p. “[Flex-Car] is like our bike program only with a car,” Phillips said. “It makes it easy for freshmen and sophomores who don’t have a car on campus to get around.”

p. Pilchen and Hopkins expressed similar concern for introducing more environmentally-friendly policies across campus. Pilchen cited his work with bringing the Youth Energy Summit to campus along with plans to foster a more environmentally conscious student body through recycling drives and campus-wide service projects.

p. Both tickets expressed differing views on the alcohol amnesty policy. During the debate, Pilchen said he would work to require Campus Police to follow the amnesty policy while also working with administration to lessen punishment for students who take the initiative to join alcoholic support groups. While Potter noted that “extending amnesty to the police is a waste of time,” he said that there could be other steps taken to make campus drinking more responsible.

p. SA elections will take place March 29 on the Student Information Network from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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