SPQR and KUnited address students’ concerns at QandA
- Apr. 10, 2012
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In preparation for Wednesday and Thursday’s election, students gathered in the Student Senate chambers in Alderson Auditorium for a question and answer session between KUnited’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates Hannah Bolton and Brandon Woodard, respectively, and the vice-presidential candidate for Senatus Populusque Ramenus, or SPQR. Claire Kerwin. SPQR’s presidential candidate Gus Bova was absent from the meeting.
SPQR members entered the room wearing togas as a nod to the Romans and their coalition name. Elections Commission Chair Keith Adams presided over the event, making sure that questions were unbiased and that both coalitions were able to present their viewpoints.
“Really, my hope was to make sure the student body had the opportunity to hear what the candidates were discussing and raise awareness,” Adams said. “It’s very important to have free, fair elections and a student voice. We want to make sure that process is respected and foster an environment for discussion”
Students at the session asked questions about how the candidates would address the perceived gap between the administration and students, pique student interest in Senate and accomplish the coalitions’ goals. Angela Sutton, a junior from Marysville, expressed concerns about rude words in chalking and the excessive amount of campaigning during election season.
“I feel like I know them more,” Sutton said. “I had lost my want to vote because of the chalking, but I plan to vote again after going to the meeting. I was glad that as representatives, they apologized. I wasn’t expecting that. It shows that they have concern for it.”
Both coalitions discussed how to increase transparency and student involvement. KUnited candidates stressed that students are able to vote for pending proposals by attending commission meetings even if they aren’t in the Senate. KUnited vice-presidential candidate Brandon Woodard proposed several different ways of reaching out to students.
“One of the main focuses of my job this year is reaching out to the student body and giving them more information about the student body,” said Woodard. “We have newsletters, press releases and we’re looking to have more contact with students, whether that means us going to Wescoe Beach or students coming here.”
SPQR advocated the same hands-on approach that it promoted when it decided to run for Senate.
“We want to just be up front,” said SPQR Campaign Manager Brian Sultana. “Just be very clear about what you’re doing. I don’t think you need a whole ton of bureaucracy to do that.”
KUnited candidates said that they have an advantage because of more experience with the Senate and more administrative ties. SPQR thinks that by bringing in “new blood,” they could reach out to more students and change some of Senate’s processes, but its main goal is not necessarily a victory; it’s to provide provocative discussions.
“I don’t expect to win,” said SPQR vice-presidential candidate Claire Kerwin. “I think it would be really amusing if we did.”
Edited by Taylor Lewis