2011 Student Body Officer Candidates’ Debate Recap

Here’s the live-blog.

Here’s a video of the debate.

Here’s a link to The Daily Mustang’s video of the debate, which is a higher quality.

On our live-blog, I solicited questions from our readers to ask the candidates after the debate. Here are those answers I promised:

Kellie Spano: When question time comes can you ask Austin for me: What he means by making it easier to graduate and the step by step plan he has in mind to obtain this goal?

Prentice: “Right now to file for graduation at SMU, you have to go through advising, appointments, more advising, more appointments. There are strict deadlines that if you miss them, you’re done. You have to wait until the next year. I want to see it that SMU should know, with your DPR, know with your Access account what you’ve accomplished, and they should say ‘You are free to graduate, do you want to graduate? Yes or no.’ There should not be a fee, there shouldn’t be this hassle. Seniors should be able to graduate because they put in the time at SMU.”

Amanda O.: Question of Essaw: How do you plan to implement theses plans, such as having the students tell her what they want to have Senate accomplish? Surely this is a big task which can’t be done alone. Do you plan on working with other Senators and if so, which ones or would you default to a committee?

Essaw: “One of my platforms is to require senators to have specific office hours. So when senators have specific office hours, students can come and just meet with their senators and talk about what their issues and their concerns are.”

Guest: Mansfield: Why are you more qualified than Perkins?

Mansfield (via email): “First I would like to say that my qualities are my own and therefore do not find any augmentation when compared to another candidate. Katie is very organized and efficient and a strong candidate. The bottom line however comes from an intangible, though unanimously claimed (I believe falsely), trait inherent to me but not present in the other candidates as much as it is me. This is unrelenting charisma. I know how to press issues with the exact and necessary balance of both confidence and humility. I exemplify my character in all that I do and will be unrelenting when serving the student body. My past credentials are significant, but in this candidates opinion, significant TO ME. Tomorrow is a new day and therefore the past need not be referred to as much as it was today at the debate. It is the forward-looking, steadfast, and selfless candidate we should seek to support and, in this election, that is me.”

I’ll have a full story on the debate in tomorrow’s print product, but here’s some stuff we had to cut. It’s about the audience Q&A section:

The questions from the audience varied in scope.

Morgan Toal, a member of the equestrian team, asked Perkins what she would do to bridge the gap between student athletes and the rest of the body. Perkins responded that she would have Senate put on different programs, as well as implement a Senate Ambassador program to have senators reach out at organizations’ meetings.

A member of the executive board of the African Students Association asked Ehmke how he would keep minorities informed, since he told the Association of Black Students that he did not support the special interest seat. She noted that Catherine Essig, the current African-American senator, had worked with her organization to keep them really informed of what was going on in Senate.

Prentice said the answer was Senate’s liaison program, which he said had been neglected in previous years, although it was better this year.

“So the reason that you happen to have an organization that has been very well communicated with is Sen. Catherine Essig is an exceptional senator,” he said. “What we need are more exceptional senators.”

Prentice said he would improve the liaison program by enforcing sanctions against those senators who didn’t communicate with their organizations.

“There’s no reason why a given organization shouldn’t know what’s going on in Senate, especially when it’s relevant to them” and that’s accomplished through the liaison program,” Ehmke said.

Another student, who did not give his name, asked Austin Prentice who would represent and what Prentice would do for transfer students.

Prentice responded by saying he’d create an ad-hoc position.

“That’s where, when needed, you guys can come in,” he said. “When needed, the athletic department can come in. When needed, whomever it might be and whatever their issue is, you guys can come in.”

Prentice noted that it’s “impossible to represent 100 percent of people.” But he said this ad-hoc position would make it easier for groups such as transfer students to come to Senate and that it’s a “good way to start.”


About Meredith Shamburger

Meredith is a journalist working for the Longview News-Journal in Longview, Texas.
This entry was posted in Student Senate. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 2011 Student Body Officer Candidates’ Debate Recap

  1. Pingback: Student Senate Elections: The Candidates | Hilltop Politics

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