Hopkins, Rosen face off in SA presidential debate
March 18, 2008
Candidates touch on sexual assault
and environmental policy
p. Last night, three days before students will vote for a new Student Assembly, presidential challengers Adam Rosen ’09 and Emily Nuñez ’09 faced off against incumbent SA President Zach Pilchen ’09 and Vice President Valerie Hopkins ’09, who have reversed roles and put Hopkins on top of the ticket, in a debate in Lodge 1. The four touched on a variety of issues ranging from uniting the campus, improving town and gown relations and preventing sexual assault.
p. Rosen opened the debate.
p. “The College is in a state of renewal,” he said. “Zach Pilchen and Valerie Hopkins are restraining us from moving forward as a community.”
p. Rosen cited their record, saying that the incumbents followed through on only 30 percent of their original campaign promises.
Hopkins’s opening statement stressed that she and Pilchen have created new positions within the SA to assist students and abolished internal affairs, a committee referred to by Pilchen as “masturbatory.”
p. The first question posed to the candidates, asked by moderator and government professor Clay Clemens, regarded how they would unite the student body. Rosen proposed that SA meetings should be televised and uploaded to iTunes.
p. “The student body’s voice is still considerably underrepresented,” he said.
p.Nuñez also mentioned that, if elected, she and Rosen would be available every week at the Daily Grind to address student concerns.
p. “[Then-SA President Ryan Scofield] had office hours two years ago and no one ever came to them,” Hopkins responded.
p. Rosen also said that since Pilchen is running for vice president and Hopkins is running for president, they should not mention their past experiences in office because they are not running for positions that they have previously held.
p. The next question addressed how the candidates would improve the students’ relationship with the city. Hopkins stressed her and Pilchen’s efforts to register students to vote.
p. “We’ve worked very hard to make [it] as easy as possible for students to register to vote,” she said.
p. Rosen replied.
p. “Voter registration has gone on well before Zach and Valerie,” he said.
p. Hopkins rebutted.
p. “It was absolutely impossible for students to register to vote in Williamsburg [before this year],” she said.
p. One of the most hotly debated issues of the evening was sexual assault prevention. Rosen criticised Pilchen’s idea of a co-educational discussion of how men and women view consent, saying that such a discussion would be dangerous. Rosen added, “We’re going to increase 1 in 4 and Every Two Minutes. We will strategically target those at risk and those who are the risk.”
Both candidates claimed that they had the support of 1 in 4 founder and education professor John Foubert. Foubert was unable to be reached for comment.
p. The candidates also debated their environmental platforms.
“Our ideas are simple and individual in nature,” Rosen said. “We want to talk about what students can do individually.” He mentioned more recycling cans around campus and making it easier to recycle “Solo cups.”
p. Pilchen, an environmental studies major, discussed his efforts in placing a compost tumbler behind the Commons dining hall and raising the school’s environmental fund from $9 million to $12 million. He rebutted Rosen’s environmental plan.
p. “Recycling Solo cups is not an environmental platform,” he said.
p. “We can all do our own little part and recycling Solo cups is beneath no one,” he said.
p. SA Elections Commission Chair Jennifer Souers ’10 called the debate to a close. Although the candidates did not give closing statements, they continued to talk informally with students for some time.