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Saturday, June 12, 2021

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Student Government: Candidates debate before UH election


Students from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences running for Senator seats in the Student Government Association Senate said their main concerns were tuition and fees, making the M.D. Anderson Library open 24 hours and providing students more opportunities to interact with administration officials at the senatorial debate Thursday.

See a complete list of the candidates’ responses during the lightning round of the debate here.

Of the 15 candidates, the 12 present at the World Affairs Lounge in the University Center said that tuition and fees was one of the main priorities they would work toward if elected.

"I’d rather see the (UH budget) balance out," said psychology senior Stephen Klesel, who is running for CLASS seat 7.

Most of the candidates were opposed to having a Starbucks in the library lobby.

"It’s ridiculous that (UH will) build a Starbucks," psychology senior Alexander Obregon, a CLASS seat 1 candidate, said.

Political science and psychology sophomore Ricardo Montenegro said he agreed that the library should be open 24 hours and that funds going toward Starbucks in the lobby could be put to a better use.

"An open library means better grades," he said.

SGA President David Rosen, who moderated the debate, said that it would probably be the only SGA debate before the election on Mar. 12 and 13 as the presidential debate, which Rosen said he would mediate, was cancelled when candidate Kelli Harper, the SGA public relations director, declined to participate.

Candidates in the debate said they were looking at different ways to campaign for votes by reaching out to students through the social networking Web site Facebook, while others are following the traditional route of campaigning to individual students.

"We can’t campaign in classes," said art history and political science junior Jenny Stanley, who is running against candidate Bethany Johns for CLASS seat 4.

Despite the SGA Senate abolishing party labels in February, some candidates are running under what they call the "REDvolution party."

Political science sophomore Sean Tarver, who is running for CLASS seat 5 under the REDvolution platform, said students should vote along party lines because REDvolution candidates are the most experienced.

"Look at the names (on) the REDvolution party….We know what we’re doing," he said.

Political science sophomore Rajji Kaur, a CLASS seat 7 candidate, said the party was going to provide solutions to students.

Corporate communication junior David Gonzalez, who is running for CLASS seat 3 disagreed with Tarver.

"This should not be a popularity contest," Gonzalez said. "Don’t vote for a party, vote for who will do their job."

Political science junior Michael Godek said the REDvolution platform is very democratic and contains a diverse group of people.

"We are not elitist," Godek said.

Political science junior Abdul Khan, who is running for CLASS seat 3, said students should vote for senators that are as diverse as the student population in beliefs and opinions.

"(The SGA Senate) should act according to what students say," Khan said. "Straight tickets are a problem. (Students) should vote for diversity as much as possible…we need to stick with that."


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