Only a handful of students gathered on Monday for the first of four Temple Student Government debates, this one held on the steps in front of 7-Eleven on Liacouras Walk. The two slates, “Owl Evolution” and “Building Temple Tradition,” began by introducing themselves and their platforms.
Junior Raysean Hogan, who is running under the “Owl Evolution” slate, said that as the current Main Campus Program Board president, he has more experience than anybody for “running things that go on at the university.”
The candidate for president for the “Building Temple Tradition” slate, junior Ryan Feldman, said that his work as the current TSG treasurer has prepared him for the job.
“I’ve known since the beginning of the year that I’ve wanted to be president of the student body,” Feldman said. “Throughout this year I’ve worked closely with the current administration … to learn the different things that go into becoming the Temple Student Government president.”
Other students running for the “Owl Evolution” slate are junior Priya Patel, who is running for vice president of academic affairs, and sophomore Juan Galeano, the candidate for vice president of student affairs. The “Building Temple Tradition” slate includes Mawata Dunbar, a sophomore running for vice president of academic affairs, and junior Paolo DeVito, who is running for vice president of student affairs.
Both slates were then asked to give the audience a brief outline of the three most important points in their platform. “Building Temple Tradition” answered the question first, and Feldman answered by emphasizing their three top priorities.
“We would like to, first of all, improve the experience of every student at Temple,” Feldman said. “We want to stress working on the improvement on Homecoming and Spring Fling … because those are supposed to be the most fun activities that students can participate in every semester.”
Feldman continued that the next two most important priorities of the slate included beginning a “TSG Fest,” a twice-a-year, all day celebration where “student organizations will be able to express their talents.”
Finally, “Building Temple Tradition” said they are concerned with building school spirit.
“One of the main ways we want to do that is by having more pep rallies for sporting events,” Feldman said.
While answering the same question, Hogan sharply criticized the main concerns of “Building Temple Tradition.”
“Unlike our competitors, we at Owl Evolution believe that our priorities revolve around the fact that we are a university first,” Hogan said. “We’re here to learn, we’re not here to throw a ‘TSG Fest,’ and we’re not here to throw programs for the student body.”
Hogan also outlined the other two main points of the “Owl Evolution” slate, which are student housing and student empowerment.
“What we want to do is make housing affordable for students that have to move off campus,” Hogan said.
In rebuttal, Dunbar defended her slate’s list of priorities.
“I would like to make it clear that we’re all student leaders, we’re here to make sure that students get the attention that they need,” Dunbar said.
“Of course we care about academic life … and we do want to make sure those issues are taken care of. This is not a mean fist fight.”
There will be three debates before the election, which will be held on April 11 and 12. The next debate is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the social lounge of Johnson and Hardwick halls.
Emily Catalano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.