The annual Student Government Association (SGA) debate took place, pinning two pairs of candidates against each other in a discussion that ranged from gender-neutral housing to the points system on Sunday, March 24. Presidential hopeful junior Albert Raminfard and his running-mate junior James Speight faced off against junior Sam Flood, who contributed via Skype from his Geneva study group, and his running-mate junior Matt Haley. The debate was moderated by SGA Parliamentarian sophomore Laura Lee who, as per tradition, allowed each ticket to provide a two-minute opening statement.
Flood provided the first opening statements emphasizing that he and Haley had unparalleled SGA experience. They both took on leadership positions in SGA during their first year at Colgate. Flood and Haley support the success of the CAC and more third party options at Colgate. Raminfard and Speight look to improve the administration’s perspective upon Greek Life and social programming.
“We have not recycled a laundry list of SGA initiatives,” Flood said.
Raminfard started the opening statements for his ticket by saying that he and Speight will take a different route than Flood and Haley. While admitting that he has not been involved in SGA for as many years as the opposition, Raminfard pointed out that he and Speight have accomplished just as much as their opponents. Both running mates emphasized their involvement in such organizations as Philanthropists at Colgate, the Blue Diamond Society, club sports and various other clubs. They believed that they provide an inclusive student voice.
Following the opening statements, each ticket was presented with three questions that were submitted by the opposing ticket the night before the debate. The first set of questions was directed at Flood and Haley. The question that generated the most discussion asked what the candidates thought was the most pressing issue at Colgate. Flood felt that Colgate is often characterized by its flaws despite being a school that is diverse and welcoming. He said that there are many steps that can be taken to change the public perception of Colgate without taking away Greek Life or punishing various other organizations.
The questions directed toward Raminfard and Speight focused on their accomplishments in SGA. Raminfard spoke about his discussions with the administration and Residential Life about point forgiveness as well as his role in creating a relationship between the Maroon-News and SGA. Overall, Raminfard emphasized his relationship with the administration, which he said is always instrumental in accomplishing SGA’s goals.
In response to current SGA President senior Matt Ford’s question, the candidtates stated how they would avoid inefficiency and proposals that are likely to fail. Raminfard discussed the importance of communication and used the example of printers in residence halls. It sounded like a good idea, but the administration, in an attempt to be more eco-friendly, was unwilling to spend more money on printers, paper and ink. Communication was key in letting SGA members know that the idea that sounded so great was, in fact, unrealistic. On behalf of Flood and himself, Haley reiterated, “there’s no substitute for experience.” He believed that they both had the necessary skills to avoid inefficiency.
For their two minute closing statements, the candidates repeated and emphasized the points they made earlier.
“We have a strong relationship with many administrators on this campus,” Raminfard said.
“You have experienced the fruits of our labor in some way, shape or form on campus,” Haley said.
Haley also noted, in response to Raminfard’s statement that he and Speight are more involved overall on campus, that both he and Flood are not only involved in SGA but Greek Life, SOMAC, club sports and other organizations as well.
In the future, SGA hopes to get the event televised or webcasted through CUTV and get more students involved.
“The debate strives for more transparency between SGA and the student body,” Laura Lee said. “[Overall] I think I speak for most students when I say that both candidates [in this year’s debate] would be excellent choices.”
Voting for the SGA Presidential election begins on Sunday, March 31 on the Colgate Portal.
Contact Jared Goldsmith at