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SGA vice presidential debate takeaways


The VP candidates fielded general and direct questions, along with questions from Twitter to varying degrees of success. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

The vice presidential candidates for the Student Government Association gathered for their first and only debate Monday night. Candidates Maysarah Kazia, Nader Irsan and Natasha Ulow each represented their parties respectfully.


Ulow is an out-of-state immigrant freshman running with EVERY COOG. Her campaign looks to increase campus diversity and inclusion for students of all backgrounds. She entered the debate with the least experience of the pack, but made up for it with her fiery passion and gumption.

Confident from the start, Ulow looked to erase any doubts about her inexperience. Confidence does not always equate to competence, however, and her lack of knowledge on several issues — including the Student Fees Advisor Committe and the responsibilities of vice president — was exploited. But like a true politician, Ulow capitalized on the follies of her adversaries — more specifically, those of Irsan.

Overall, her performance was commendable and exceeded expectations, despite her status as a freshman. Fellow underclassmen would benefit greatly in displaying Ulow’s level of maturity and leadership. For this, I have named her the runner-up of this year’s debate champion.


Irsan is running with Coogs Unite and has the second most experience in SGA among the candidates. He has previously served as the Deputy Attorney General and his campaign focuses on campus safety and senate approachability.

Irsan kept his composure over the course of the debate despite being the victim of countless rebuttals and personal attacks from the other candidates. He was well-versed and knowledgeable in most of the issues discussed and gave clear answers to questions.

Despite his clear responses, Irsan’s entire debate was overshadowed by prior tweets that could be construed as racist and homophobic. While he apologized for them and cited a lack of maturity for their cause, his response seemed disingenuous and lacked a sense of sincerity.

Rather then apologizing and simply moving on from the discussion, Irsan gave excuses for his previous remarks. It left him open for attacks and ultimately spoiled his night. While composed, Irsan lost the debate and receives last place honors.


Last but not least is Kazia. She is running with Students Unite and has the most experience of all candidates with over three years’ involvement in SGA under her belt. The campaign she represents looks to implement higher wages for student workers and affordable health services on campus.

Kazia started the debate a little shaky. Her responses were well-rounded but she seemed nervous. This anxious demeanor evaporated completely after a few rounds of questions and she quickly displayed her superior knowledge of the association’s practices. She was quick to correct her opponents when they made a false statement and had the cleanest debate.

She joined Ulow in attacking Irsan for his tweets as the two politely took turns jabbing at his positions. It was a tag-team effort of WWE proportions. Kazia and Irsan did agree on one thing, that Ulow’s desire to implement off-campus outreach to the greater Third Ward area should be focused on students first, then community.

Overall, her experience shined through as Kazia secured the spot as this year’s vice presidential debate champion.

Assistant Opinion Editor Anthony Cianciulli is a broadcast journalism senior and can be reached at [email protected].

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