The first executive TSG debate was held Monday.
RUN TEMPLE and Temple Advocating Progress engaged in the first executive ticket debate Monday, March 26 at the Temple Student Government General Assembly meeting.
Candidates answered questions on topics such as student involvement in TSG’s presence on campus and Temple’s relationship with the North Philadelphia area.
“Our mission is to radically change the way TSG operates,” Brandon Rey Ramirez, TSG deputy chief of staff and RUN TEMPLE candidate for TSG student body president, said in his introduction. “We need to clean up our own house at TSG.”
David Lopez, TAP candidate for student body president, introduced his ticket by citing administrative changes within Temple.
“Right now, we’re at a transformative moment at this university…and our focus needs to be aggression,” Lopez, TSG chief of staff, said.
Tickets had three minutes to answer each question from the elections commission and the General Assembly.
Many believe Temple has an apathetic student body. How do you plan to engage our campus?
TAP: TAP repeatedly mentioned its goal to increase TSG’s presence among freshmen, with Lopez stating that freshman year is “when [students] are most interested in getting involved.”
Touching on TAP’s platform of enhanced Temple pride, Julian Hamer, candidate for vice president of services, said TSG should not only require student organization to attend GA meetings, and instead “We need to be in attendance at their meetings.”
RUN TEMPLE: Ramirez stated his belief that Temple students are actively involved on campus, and pointed to his ticket’s platform of TSG openness.
“We want to make Temple Student Government more fun,” Ruturaj Rana, RUN TEMPLE candidate for TSG vice president of services, said. “Nobody likes sitting in here for an hour when they’re forced to come.”
Each ticket wants to make changes to the way in which campus is run. However, we all understand there are certain constraints to each position. How do you plan on navigating through these constraints?
RUN TEMPLE: “I think that, you know, anytime you try and change the way things have been year after year, you’re going to have a lot of resistance,” Ramirez said. “If there’s a problem with an administrator, of there’s a problem with a policy, we’re not just going to throw our hands up and say ‘Oh, can’t do anything.’”
TAP: Lopez talked about the single student representative on the presidential search committee, claiming “that is a constraint that needs to be taken in serious consideration and needs to be overpowered.” Lopez also noted his ticket’s platform to integrate students with faculty senate meetings.
Besides the use of social media sites…how will your ticket continually advertise TSG so that students are aware of our initiatives and programs?
TAP: Hamer stressed a need for TSG to improve communication with student groups.
“I don’t think it’s important for TSG to become very gimmicky,” Lopez said.
RUN TEMPLE: Rana referred to RUN TEMPLE’s Street Team, a group of students in support of the ticket, stating that the group will promote events and TSG. Rana said the group will continue after elections.
Running mate Jaimee Swift, candidate for vice president of external affairs, spoke about her ticket’s aims to mend racial divisions among student groups.
“You have the black kids on the [Liacouras] Walk, and, you know, it looks like a historically black university. You have the white kids on Beury Beach. You have the Asians are in the library,” Swift said. “At the end of the day, are we really Facebook friends? Are we really getting to know each other?”
Throughout the debate, Swift’s comments regarding claims of self-segregation of student ethnic and racial groups drew vocal reactions from the GA, as well as from TSG directors in the audience.
Candidates exchanged praises at the end of questioning. TSG Elections Commissioner Shanee Satchell said students may submit questions for the second debate, scheduled for April 2, through the TSG elections website. Elections will be held April 3–4.
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.