SGA Presidential Candidates Debate Broad Street Housing, Class Registration

Luke Parauda

On Tuesday April 1, the Colgate University Student Government presidential and vice-presidential candidates engaged in a debate that lasted just over an hour.  There are two tickets competing for the chance to lead the Student Government Association and represent the student body for the 2014-2015 school year. The presidential candidates are junior Phil Steinberg and junior Sarah Rende.  Junior Laura Lee represents the vice-presidential candidate for the Steinberg ticket.  Junior John Lee is running for vice-president on the Rende ticket.

The debate started around 7:15 p.m. in 105 Lawrence Hall.  Vice-president candidate Laura Lee joined the debate via Skype from her study abroad program in Denmark.  The debate began with introductions from each of the candidates.  Each of the tickets and candidates introduced themselves with impressive resumes and histories of involvement at Colgate. 

Following the introductions, each side announced their running platforms. There was considerable overlap between the platforms, with each side pushing for initiatives that involve students in active support of Colgate athletics, more inclusive social events, point system forgiveness, and organizational amnesty. 

However, Steinberg and Lee stressed their desire to tackle course diversity and increased seating in popular classes.  Steinberg also stressed his ticket’s experience in Senate and SGA committees as a key to their ability to perform.

“We know the ins and outs of this bylaw and constitution … Our knowledge of how SGA functions and its design is integral to how policies function and move forward,” Steinberg said.

Rende and Lee came mentioned the aspects of their platform that separates them from the other platform, namely opening up Broad Street housing to any student group or club, getting students actively involved in discussion with Colgate administration, getting teachers to release text book lists earlier, and implementing more options through career services for help in finding finance internships, among other objectives.  Rende was also forceful on options for student social involvement. 

“Sixty percent of Colgate’s campus is not involved in Greek life, and we want everyone to have these social options,” Rende said.

After the initial announcement of platforms and some rebuttal, there were a series of questions from the mediator.  These questions ranged from what each ticket would push to accomplish first to specific plans on issues such as the keg policy on campus. 

The debate was opened up to questions from current students and audience members towards the end, which produced some useful discussion.  The final closing statements made it clear that all candidates were grateful for the opportunity to represent the student body and student government as each presidential candidate encouraged all students to vote.  The voting for SGA president and vice president will take place April 9 and 10.

Contact Luke Parauda at [email protected]