Student Government Election Debate

March 26: Refresh this page throughout the night for live updates on the debate. You can also follow us on Twitter @IVEstate for live updates with the hashtag #gmudebate.

The 2015 Spring Student Government Election Executive Debate was on March 26, 7:30p.m. at the JC Atrium. Four pairs of president and vice president candidates are running in the campaign: Khushboo Bhatia and Ali Zaidi, Chandler Jenkins and Obum Egolum, Laura Freeman and Taylor Sprague and Pete Kleine and Jordan Wilson.

Audience members and students on Twitter asked the candidates questions about their platforms, but this year candidates also submited questions to each other.

Voting starts on Monday, March 30 at 12 a.m. and closes on Friday, April 5 at 5 p.m. You can vote on getconnected.gmu.edu.


Candidate Questions

8:10: Kleine on their initiative for hosting off-campus events specifically for off-campus students, “We proud ourselves being a commuter campus.” Wilson, It helps “bridge the gap between Mason and Fairfax.”

Rebuttal: Zaidi, “We believe off-campus students and on-campus students are united as one.”

8:20: Jenkins/Egolum and Freeman/Sprague agree that you don’t need a student government leadership position to be a leader.

8:22: Bhata/Zaidi want to create an Off-Campus Undersecretary student government position.

Rebuttal: Kleine/Wilson think that this position isn’t needed to take care of off-campus concerns.

8:25: On the Jorge’s restaurant logo, Egolum, “It is a little bit culturally insensitive.”

8:30: As a sister, Jenkins said that it’s important for the community to know how much good Fraternity and Sorority Life does.

Rebuttal: Kleine said that the governing bodies of Greek Life should be monitoring greek life, not student government.

8:35: Freeman wants to make sure that if Bhatia/Zaidi won, then they would run student government with originality. She appreciates their initiatives.

8:40: Sprague explained how she helped start the initiative of gender neutral bathrooms on campus. Freeman said that after her term as Senator, she found out “how to become a better leader” and make “smart goals.”

8:45: Wilson said they are proud to have a diverse university, but it’s not inclusive. They want to create a board to talk about common concerns on race.

8:47: Bhatia said they want to reassess how space is used on campus. They also want to create an Org Hour, which is when there are no classes and it’s set aside for organization participation.


Audience & Social Media Questions 

8:57: What will you do to ensure retention of first-generation students?

Bhatia said that they want to stress orientation and the resources available to first-generation students.

Jenkins wants to donate books to create a library for first-generations students

Freeman,”Sometimes we try to fit ‘first-generation’ into a little box.” She thinks reforming of academic advising is important to help these students succeed.

9:05: What is your opinion on students in SG who say offensive comments about minorities?

Freeman said that if “we don’t ever address this situation head on,” then it’ll continue.

Bhatia, “It’s important to hold yourself to a high standard” and to have open dialogue.

Kleine said all opinions are welcome if they’re respectful. Disrespectful comments won’t be tolerated.

9:14: How will you make more convenient classes available on the Fairfax campus?

Kleine said that the Provost usually decides the times and sections for courses, but he said they have a strong relationship with this office to make suggestions.

Jenkins said their proposed Academic Liaison Program will help finding out what times works for students.

Freeman said that they want to increase the Transparency of which professors teach which sections, instead of Patriot Web saying “TBA.”

9:25: Do you think diversity is as important as university services,etc?

Bhatia, Jenkins and Freeman all said that diversity is an important part of Mason.

Kleine said that diversity is the most important part of Mason.

9:30: How will we be be able to hold you accountable?

Zaidi said they want students to be able to send anonymous concerns and questions.

Wilson said their platform doesn’t have fancy ideas or long-term initiatives. He believes their platform goals can be achieved in a short-term time span.

Egolum said at the end of the day, they represent the students. He thinks their platform goals are attainable.

9:42: What’s an original initiative you have?

Chandler mentioned a moral campus and to start the tradition of “Building Patriot Pride,” to buy a brick with your name and eventually build a Mason “M” on campus.

Sprague said they want to work with IT and University Life to create a new Mason app.

Bhatia mentioned their “Take a Book, Leave a Book” program and their Org Hour.

Wilson wants students to get class credit for all study abroad programs.

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