The second Temple Student Government debate in the social lounge at the Johnson and Hardwick residence halls saw the two slates, “Building Temple Tradition” and “Owl Evolution,” answer a wide range of questions regarding issues affecting the student body.
Members of both slates Tuesday also took several opportunities to criticize each other in their responses. At one point, when the candidates’ criticisms started to become more accusatory, moderator Alex Barbosa was forced to stop the debate and warn both slates that he would not allow any more “finger-pointing” to continue.
One of the issues that both slates had different opinions on was how communication between students and administrators could possibly be improved.
The presidential candidate for “Building Temple Tradition” and TSG treasurer Ryan Feldman said that the relationships he established with administrators will help make communication easier because “we don’t have to build those relationships, they’re already built.” He also said providing better promotion for the meetings that already take place between administrators and students is a part of the “Building Temple Tradition” platform.
“We will set up meetings with different administrators that any student can come to,” Feldman said. “Also [our slate] will have meetings with administrators on a regular basis. We will report those results back to the general assembly, get some feedback from them and then take that information back to the administration.”
Main Campus Program Board president Raysean Hogan, the presidential candidate for “Owl Evolution,” said half of what Feldman said “already takes place.” Hogan said his slate is concerned with setting up an annual meeting between students and the Board of Trustees.
“If the Board of Trustees were able to converse with the student body, you wouldn’t receive letters in the mail over winter break telling you that you have to move off campus when you come back,” Hogan said.
To address the various problems that commuters face, “Owl Evolution” vice president of student affairs candidate Juan Galeano said his slate wants to incorporate a system where the amount of financial aid a student receives could be based on off-campus rent fees, in addition to the tuition fee.
Feldman said Galeano’s idea did not address “how we can get more off-campus students involved on campus.” Vice president of student affairs candidate for “Building Temple Tradition” Paolo DeVito said there should be less of a difference between commuters and students who live on campus.
“We need to really break that name. There shouldn’t be a difference between commuter students and [on-campus] students. They are all Temple students,” DeVito said. “We need to make sure we have more events earlier in the day because these students who are going home can’t necessarily come back and attend certain events like the students who live on campus can.”
Earlier in the debate, when the candidates were describing why they would be qualified for TSG office, Feldman said it was evident that Hogan and “Owl Evolution” vice president of academic affairs candidate Priya Patel had “just started attending TSG meetings.” When both slates were asked to reveal their biggest flaw, Patel said the lack of involvement in TSG between her and Hogan could be perceived as a weakness.
Patel said that she and Hogan have been “speaking with students in TSG and students all over the campus.”
“We are very concerned about the students … and the type of questions and concerns that they have,” Patel said. “Though we don’t necessarily perceive this to be a huge weakness it is something that we can improve upon in the future.”
Feldman said his slate may have less experience in diversity then “Owl Evolution,” but said that doesn’t mean his slate doesn’t care about diversity. Feldman said his slate wants to continue and build upon the ideas that TSG already has in place in terms of diversity, including utilizing Galeano, the current diversity affairs co-chair.
“We’re No. 2 in [the nation] in diversity right now, but we’re going to continue to do these things until we are No. 1,” Feldman said.
“Building Temple Tradition” vice president of academic affairs candidate Mawata Dunbar said her slate “is not going to limit ourselves to what is written on paper” in terms of what they could do to promote diversity. Dunbar said one of the things “Building Temple Tradition” will work on is making the transition to Temple easier for international students.
“They do have voices and they are speaking, it’s just that people aren’t listening,” she said. “That’s one of the problems that we are going to take care of.”
In his closing statement, Hogan said “the best indicator of our recent success is what we have done in the past.” He said strengthening academic integrity is one of a focal point for “Owl Evolution.”
“Our concerns are definitely representative of the student body concerns,” Hogan said. “We don’t need to learn how to be leaders, we already are leaders.”
Feldman said his slate has the “TSG experience that is needed to run TSG.” He said the issues that outline his slate’s platform are filled with “realistic things for us to get done in the next year.”
“And we are going to get it done next year,” Feldman said in regard to his slate’s issues.
“We’re not just going to say ‘these are the problems’ and list 40 different problems,” he said. “We are going to say ‘these are the solutions and this is how we’re going to achieve those solutions.'”
The third TSG debate will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. in Room 223 of the Student Center. The final debate will be held during TSG’s general assembly meeting on Monday at 4 p.m. in Room 200C of the Student Center.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.