Candidates offer different approaches

Alexander Obregon and Kenneth Fomunung, candidates for Student Government Association president, faced off in a runoff debate Tuesday.

Both spoke about parking, rising tuition and student safety, but their approaches were markedly different.’

‘The first thing you do is talk to the administration, then you do your research,’ Obregon said of his decision-making style.

Parking, safety and lack of funds are traditional concerns at universities across the country. Regardless of who wins this election, SGA will likely only be able to provide mitigation, not permanent solutions.’

What is important is a candidate who can take student concerns and prioritize their achievable goals, so whatever help SGA is able to accomplish gains the most benefit for students.

The candidates were questioned about their problem solving approaches, prioritization of University areas when coping with a budget shortfall, the top three areas of concern to students and how they planned to reach and represent dissenting voters.

They agreed substantially on most areas of concern. The marked differences were in approach and background.

As was apparent from the debates, Obregon brought a great deal of experience to the table, having served in SGA for his three years at UH.

‘The way the administration looks at SGA here at UH is not something that’s found at many other universities,’ Obregon said. ‘We have direct contact with all the administrators, we can set up meetings with them.’

He has a comfortable relationship with the administration. Working within the system for change is a tried and true means of accomplishing goals.

Fomunung has a real world understanding of how precious access to education is and consistently approaches problems by reaching out to students first, before the administration.

‘We, the University of Houston students are perhaps its principal stakeholders and it is incumbent on the administration to seek to maintain a healthy relationship with us, the student body,’ Fomunung said.’If elected, I will hold them accountable to this truth.’

If SGA’s focus is on making changes for students, approaching them directly for information is a good way to make sure any changes made address their needs.

Both candidates bring speaking and organizational skills and a solid team of people to the student government table. The only question remaining is which approach do UH students prefer?’

‘The voice of 36,000 students stating their claims in unison cannot be ignored for too long,’ Fomunung said.’

This election is a way to fulfill that mandate, whichever candidate you choose.

Shaista Mohammed is an anthropology and communication sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment