Student Government Presidential Candidates Explain Their Views

Laura Westerhold

Two tickets are on the ballot for this year’s SGA Presidential and Vice-Presidential election. The candidates are Chris Nulty and Ann Redpath for President and Vice-President, respectfully, and David Kusnetz and Melissa Madaio for President and Vice-President, respectfully.

During a debate Monday night, both pairs opened with remarks on their campaigns, addressing what they hoped to accomplish. Kusnetz spoke about increased wireless network speed and coverage, an improved Cruiser system including a “Cruiser hotline,” dining services reform and a carbon neutral campus. He highlighted his and Madaio’s experience on Senate.

“There’s nothing on our platform that will take a week or two to accomplish. We are discussing larger issues that Colgate faces and empowering the voice of the student body for real change,” Kusnetz said.

Redpath discussed Residential Life improvements, including housing operations, six sophomore townhouses, student input on HRC changes, and off-campus car stickers for townhouse seniors. She addressed technology on Broad Street, library hours, a school-supplies vending machine, a Greek liaison to the SGA executive board, better utilization of rehearsal space, a more effective electronic reservation system and extended Cruiser hours. They will also advocate for an additional sorority in the Greek system.

Debate moderator senior Matt Wisnieff posed questions about candidates’ SGA and campus experience, the biggest problems facing Colgate and what the candidates believe the lasting impacts of their presidencies will be. Nulty and Redpath listed their leadership experiences, which include Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, the crew team, the Colgate Resolutions, their work together as Election Commissioners, Nulty’s experience on the Budget Allocations Committee and last three years as class president.

Madaio said that her and Kusnetz’s experience has been “mostly SGA”-focused. They noted successes they have had as Senators including bringing back the New York Times and meal plan reform. Madaio, a Gamma Phi Beta sorority member, will be organizing sorority recruitment next fall.

Kusnetz and Madaio cited lack of communication with the Administration as the biggest problem on campus, while Nulty and Redpath cited apathy and unwillingness of students to get involved. Nulty and Redpath noted the “YourColgate” account that they created as Election Commissioners as a success, while Kusnetz and Madaio noted the meal plan reform with which they have been involved.

“People have been talking about reforming the meal plan for years but no one had done it,” Kusnetz said.

On extending Monday night Cruiser hours, Nulty and Redpath believe “circumstances have changed” including a “freshman taxi service,” which makes extended Cruiser hours a feasible option due to liability. Kusnetz and Madaio feel the issue has been pursued and is not possible. Kusnetz and Madaio do feel additional gym space is possible by extending treadmill space into the Juice Bar, which is underutilized. Nulty and Redpath don’t feel that it is “appropriate or realistic” to promise this in their own campaign.

Concerning Greek life, Nulty and Redpath stated that they could not legislate for new Greek chapters or new housing options because they cannot infringe on the work of the Panhellenic Association and Office of Residential Life, respectively. However, they will advocate and support both.

“There’s not one single [candidate pair] that can encompass the voice of the students on campus … and we would like to in a way unlike others,” Nulty and Redpath said.

Kusnetz and Madaio are “working with a lot of underclassmen right now.” They hope to “pull in people who are passionate about the same things. Things that we’ve done have been the result of the student need. Students are clamoring for [these things].” They believe in delegating responsibility in order to accomplish larger-scale goals, while Nulty and Redpath would like to focus on issues that are achievable within a two-semester period.

As previously stated, Kusnetz and Madaio are advertising efforts towards a carbon neutral campus, which they hope to pursue by purchasing carbon credits, composting food and installing energy-saving light bulbs across campus. Nulty and Redpath have bought carbon credits to offset their campaign and Kusnetz’s flights between Washington, D.C. – where he is currently part of a Study Group – and Syracuse. They hope to update all printers to default to double-sided printing, but they don’t believe student activities funds should be put toward

purchasing carbon credits.

Several more election week events are upcoming. A political activism concert will be held Friday at Parker Commons featuring Dangerboy and Sonic Symposium. Elections will be held this weekend on the Colgate Portal.