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The Student Union’s 2022 Campaign Debate took place Thursday night at Syracuse University’s National Veterans Resource Center’s KG Tan Auditorium, featuring candidates for the positions of comptroller, vice- executive chairman and president. CitrusTV’s Moriah Humiston and Chilekasi Adele moderated the discussion.
The first position presented during the debate was the comptroller, who is responsible for overseeing South Africa’s finance council at its head. The controllers, although they do not have the right to vote, advise the board of directors on recommendations and financial decisions. They are also responsible for conducting tax agent training sessions for student organizations and managing the financial calendar that goes to student organizations.
The only contender for SA Controller this year is incumbent Nyah Jones, a junior sports management major.
In her opening remarks, Jones focused on her transparency as a comptroller over the past term. She said she provided more information — such as why some financial requests were denied — to students at SA meetings. The current comptroller also said she will continue to make herself more accessible for students and organizations to contact at any time.
If re-elected, Jones said she would continue the initiatives and goals she started during her last term, such as continuing to make changes to tax codes and making sure SA is in “good hands.” benevolent”.
Jones also mentioned that she is currently working on a new program called “The Tax Codes Study Session,” an elective training for registered student organizations open to the entire student body.
Jones said SA funding has been distributed evenly and evenly based on tax codes, and said she has seen many more minority organizations receive funding over the past year compared to to previous years.
In her closing remarks, Jones said she wanted to be as accessible to the student body and promised to continue her accessibility if re-elected as Controller.
President, Vice President
After the comptroller’s presentation, the three presidential and vice-presidential tickets were introduced and began with opening remarks. Incumbent President David Bruen is seeking a second term, joined by executive vice-presidential candidate Adia Santos. Jordan Pierre and Breton MacNeil are also running for president, joined by running mates Lauren Gloster and Sky Gorczynski respectively.
In his opening remarks, the Bruen-Santos campaign highlighted Bruen’s past successes as president, including creating a grocery cart program, investing in providing free menstrual products on campus and extending SU’s optional testing policy amid COVID-19, which he has advocated for.
Bruen said his goal was to pursue “substantial change instead of vague talking points.” The duo highlighted their experience within the association.
“Adia and I offer experience. No one (is) better at serving than someone who has done the job,” Bruen said.
The Pierre-Gloster campaign aimed to unite the student body through their various initiatives. Pierre said their campaign introduces and builds relationships with a large number of students.
In his keynote address, Gloster highlighted key campaign initiatives: reshaping the Orange experience, revitalizing the Orange culture, building the Orange experience, tackling food insecurity and building long-term relationships with residents. of Syracuse.
Gorczynski recently joined SA several weeks ago, while MacNeil has not been a member of SA. MacNeil runs under the campaign slogan, “If you want the real deal, vote for MacNeil.”
In his opening remarks, Gorczynski said that SA needs to be better known and accessible to the rest of the student body.
All of the contestants voiced their support for the return of meals to the Schine Student Center.
Pierre advocated for the addition of emergency levies which, as he described, are a number of levies for students who do not have a meal plan because not all students can afford it. .
Gloster went on to advocate for a policy of transporting leftover food from dining halls to places like the Hendricks Chapel pantry or the local community, an idea that received unanimous support from the candidates.
Bruen described how he, along with other students, sat down with Jon Webster, SU’s executive director of hospitality, to work through this. Bruen said he, among other members of the SA assembly, then established a Food Service Accountability Committee.
“It’s a problem that has many parts, and we need to explore solutions in different ways,” Bruen said. “If we can get meals back from Schine, if we can reduce the overall cost of the meal plan, if we can make some adjustments to the sharing of Cuse Cash and Dining dollars, I think that would all be a winner. for students.
MacNeil also expressed support for the return of meal sweeps to Schine and Pierre’s initiative to have emergency sweeps.
Gorczynski said Dining Dollars should be available in more places, such as on-campus grocery stores and vending machines.
“Eating disorders are a huge problem on this campus,” Gorczynski said. “If the kids don’t like the mess halls and they can’t eat after 9 p.m., they just won’t eat.”
Santos cited accessibility as the biggest issue with SU’s dining halls, as she thinks the price of meals is too high.
“There’s no reason you should sneak into (Ernie Davis Hall) for $15 and grab an apple before running to class. It’s just absurd. It makes it impossible for anyone here to afford food,” Santos said.
Pierre and Gloster proposed the creation of more mental health days. The two candidates also campaigned to make students feel more comfortable talking about mental health, promoting more dialogue with the SU administration on this topic and encouraging professors to be more lenient with students. students.
Bruen and Santos said they are working closely with the SU administration to prioritize the mental health and well-being of the student body. He also mentioned that SA expanded Mental Health Awareness Week during his tenure. The couple have also expressed interest in creating more mental health days and increasing staff diversity, particularly at Barnes Center at The Arch. Santos said the resources should be available immediately to any students who need them.
MacNeil and Gorczynski said the Barnes Center is adequate, but “students need to be able to feel comfortable using it.” Both candidates have expressed interest in creating a mental health and suicide prevention week as well as fundraising opportunities that can be injected into mental health programs.
Communication with SA
Gloster said communication was the biggest solution to building a better connection between the student body and SA. Pierre said the two will prioritize discussions with students about current issues.
During Bruen’s tenure, SA held two town halls to hear student concerns. The third town hall was to be held in early March after being postponed from Thursday February 24.
The debate has centered on the effectiveness of town halls and whether more can be done to meet the demands of the student body. Santos said they “make it a priority to meet students” while “trying to be as open and honest as possible.”
MacNeil asked if the average student would feel comfortable attending town halls. Gorczynski said they would support SA representing themselves more at Schine and do a better job explaining to students what SA is doing behind the scenes.
The debate ended with closing remarks from all three posts. Pierre and Gloster said they were “doing more than just making changes to the social and political climate, but also challenging many stereotypes by being here at SU”.
Bruen and Santos, similar to their opening remarks, highlighted Bruen’s accomplishments during his last term while emphasizing that they “commit (themselves) to all students and those who find their way to the Orange community”.
MacNeil and Gorczynski ended the debate by reaffirming their position as SA outsiders who focus on making students feel more comfortable voicing their concerns, making all students feel welcome.
Voting begins Monday, April 4. Students can vote on their MySlice page. Voting is open between Monday April 4 and Friday April 8. The results of the election will be announced publicly on Saturday, April 9 at noon at Hendricks Chapel.
Published on April 2, 2022 at 5:07 p.m.
Contact Dominic: [email protected] | @DominicChiappo2