The third debate in the Temple Student Government elections was held at the Bell Tower on Thursday, marking the first time that the candidates were able to fully discuss their platforms in this election.
During the debate, each slate had a chance to tell students the essential issues that they are focusing on in their campaign. There was also opportunity for passing students to question the candidates about their plans.
The two slates, “A Stronger Temple” and “Spread the Love” formally introduced themselves. Oscar Chow, Ryan Phelan and Cristina Ackas are running on the “A Stronger Temple” slate, and Andrew Pittz and Catherine Stanford are running on the “Spread the Love” slate. Victor Feinman was also officially added to the ballot as the candidate for vice president of student affairs for “Spread the Love,” whose name has changed from “Where’s the Love?” in the previous debates.
The debate began with statements from the candidates for student body president about their slate’s intentions.
One issue that both slates commented on was cafeteria services, and the service provider, Sodexho. Both slates mentioned the need to have roll-over meal plans in their platform, though each has been told that it is not an easy thing to change.
“A Stronger Temple” discussed the problem of event catering services. Oscar Chow said that he is frustrated that it is so difficult for student organizations to hire outside of the campus catering services.
“[Student organizations] can’t even outsource; we have to go through all these different functions to even get an outsource company,” Chow said.
“Spread the Love” said that they, too, have questioned Sodexho about the catering services.
“The reason they don’t do it is because they have to have over $1 million in liability insurance. If they do have [the liability insurance], you can get it passed very easily,” Pittz said.
“Spread the Love” said that they have already been given the go-ahead to implement one of their ideas, an all-day breakfast line.
Campus safety is an issue that is important to both slates as well. “Spread the Love” has said that they have received support from Campus Police, particularly Captain Eileen Bradley, to implement a “Safe Haven” for intoxicated students in Health Services.
“We want to see Health Services open from Wednesday through Saturday, 11 p.m. to five in the morning, so drunk students can go there, rather than have to go to the hospital. They don’t have to have the huge fines and the fees, and there will be complete amnesty,” Pittz explained.
“A Stronger Temple” said that they believed that the real problem with campus safety lies in campus population increase.
“I want to make sure that as student population rises, that campus safety stays proportional to the student population. There’s been numerous incidences, there’s been an increase with violence on campus, with people getting robbed. I want to make sure that campus safety stays proportional,” Chow said.
The candidates for the vice president of student affairs each were asked how they plan to find out the major problems that students are having and how they will try to address them.
“I think that we need to start communicating with the students. TSG has the power to get things done. We need to advocate that the issues of the school, whether it be academic, social, parking, housing. The issues of the school need to be presented at general assembly meetings. By doing that, by communicating that Temple Student Government exists, and that you can present your issues there, more issues will come in so that we can deal with them,” Feinman said.
Cristina Ackas, a candidate for ‘Stronger Temple,’ said that if she is elected, she plans on implementing an open-door policy to her office.
“I will sit in my office more than the required hours. [Students] can come and talk to me, so that every week we have an outline idea of what we want to discuss, so I can understand all of the problems going on and then try to address them through the administration,” Ackas said.
Rachel Solomon, a student observing the event, asked both slates how they would reach out to students on Ambler’s campus.
“[Spread the Love] have promised that one of our members from our slate will be at every Ambler meeting,” Pittz said.
Chow countered that it is unrealistic to believe that one member of their slate will be able to attend an Ambler meeting once a week.
“I will tell you right now that they do not truly understand the responsibility that comes along with these positions. The minimum of 20 office hours a week, in addition to your classes, work and then all administrative and executive meetings, it is simply not possible for yourself to go back and forth to Ambler every single week,” Chow said.
The fourth and final debate was held Monday, April 11, in Walk Auditorium of Ritter Hall.
Emily Catalano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.