|Student Government debate focuses on experience, goals||VP nominee Kontz cites ‘personal reasons,’ leaves ‘Where’s the Love’ before referendum|
|On Wednesday, the first of four Temple Student Government debates was held between candidates running for TSG president, vice president of academic affairs, and vice president of student affairs.
The candidates are running on two separate slates, “A Stronger Temple,” and “Where’s the Love? – It’s About Time.” Each slate runs together as a team.
The debate began with an introduction of the candidates. Oscar Chow, Cristina Ackas and Ryan Phelan are running under “Stronger Temple,” and Andrew Pittz and Catherine Stanford are running under “Where’s the Love?”
Joseph Kontz was originally running on the “Where’s the Love?” slate, but has since dropped out of the race. According to Pittz, Kontz left for “personal reasons.”
The debate was not without the usual digs at the opposing slate, with this one focusing on experience. “Where’s the Love?” has both a freshman and a first-semester transfer student running for office.
“I admire your ambition, … but to come in as a freshman and [someone who has] been here for four months, you guys just don’t have the experience,” said Chow.
Andrew Pittz, who is running against Chow for TSG president, argued that it is ambition that matters, not experience.
“Procedure can be learned. It’s not procedure; it’s people. I can read a 30-page paper, and I can know every bylaw, every amendment, every motion that needs to be made,” Pittz said. “Every once in a while, you need to fuse with new leadership and potential, so you can actually get somewhere and really mobilize TSG.”
An issue that came up repeatedly throughout the debate was the lack of housing on campus. The empty dormitories on Ambler’s campus were a point of contention.
“Where’s the Love?” said they felt that the empty dorm rooms at Ambler would be part of a solution to the lack of housing available on main campus, while “A Stronger Temple” disagrees.
Cristina Ackas, who is running for vice president of student affairs on the “A Stronger Temple” ticket, said that using Ambler housing is not a realistic solution.
“It was a good idea, but in the end, knowing that you have classes, that you have projects, and you have to go all the way back to Ambler … it’s better just paying that $800 that the landlord is going to rip you off,” Ackas said.
Pittz argued that Ambler could be a solution for students who feel more at home on the campus’ suburban environment.
“We don’t have the capabilities to house a lot [at Main Campus], but they have the capabilities to house a couple hundred, and it helps Ambler keep their student population alive. … It seems to me a win-win situation,” Pittz said.
Natalie McGuirk, a student in the audience, asked the slates about their plans to get students more excited about University activities.
“It really boils down to communication, and also involving the other campuses. Ambler, Tyler, a lot of those guys have a lot of great stuff going on that we don’t know about, because we don’t hear about it, we don’t talk to them,” Kontz from “Where’s the Love?” said.
Phelan, for “A Stronger Temple,” said that Temple needs to better market itself in order to for students to take pride in the University.
“We need to rebuild our marketing ploy. We need to let everybody know that Temple is a great school; we’ve got great athletics. Of course, we’ve got to get great athletics,” Phelan said.
Current Vice President of Student Affairs Sarah Baker asked both of the academic candidates how they would try to make the transition to the new general education core curriculum easier for students.
Each candidate felt that advising would be the most important aspect to making the change run more smoothly.
“We’re going to try to hold advisers liable. We expect our advisers to be reliable. We go to them asking for support, asking for guidance, asking for leadership. We expect them to be able to be held to it,” Phelan said.
Stanford from “Where’s the Love?” was unfamiliar with the new changes that will be implemented in the core curriculum. Despite that, Stanford said that her slate would plan to begin focus groups to educate students about the new policies.
Much of the debate focused on the role of TSG, and each slate stated that they would try to improve relations between TSG and the student body.
“Most of the students on this campus don’t even know what TSG is or what it does. That’s a big problem. That means that TSG isn’t doing its job. Our slate wants to completely revamp that,” Kontz said.
“Stronger Temple” also sees a need for change within TSG, and wants to make the organization more accessible to students.
“We want students to see us, we want to be the upper level organization that every organization, that every everyday student can come to with concerns, with comments, with questions,” Ackas said.
The elections will be held on April 12 and 13.
Emily Catalano can be reached at email@example.com.
|A major announcement was made during the second Temple Student Government debate on Monday about the future of the “Where’s the Love” slate. Joseph Kontz, the candidate for vice president for student affairs, left the race.
“He left for personal reasons,” said Andrew Pittz, without explaining further.
The slate planned to have a third person on the ticket in time for the debate, but failed to obtain the official signatures that are required by the TSG for a change in candidacy.
Pittz explained that Victor Feinman, the unofficial candidate for the office, had gotten enough signatures to satisfy the TSG requirement, but found they would not be accepted because they were printed and not signed.
Oscar Chow, who is running for TSG president on the “A Stronger Temple” slate, said that they were only made aware of the candidate change the morning of the second debate.
“This is actually the second time this has happened. One time before, when they were first campaigning, a previous person did drop out … Obviously, we are questioning their ability to replace leaders on campus that will be able to lead the student body justly, while also, just keeping unity within their own body,” Chow said.
The debate, which was attended by only a handful of students and supporters, primarily centered on the subject of the distribution of allocations.
The candidates on the “Where’s the Love?” slate said that if they are elected, they would completely change the allocations process.
“TSG doesn’t want to change. It needs change. Allocations need to be completely revamped,” Pittz said. “Every organization that has … leaders sitting on the allocations [board] receives funding.”
“We’ll have a committee of outside people come in so they decide what the allocations are. It will streamline it,” Pittz added.
Patrice Whiting, the moderator of the debate, noted that there is already an existing allocations committee, and stressed that it is not made up of only TSG members.
Cristina Ackas, the vice president for student affairs candidate on the “Stronger Temple” slate said that she recognizes the problems with the allocation process, but saw a complete overhaul as unnecessary.
“For 21 years, our allocations process has been good. There’s no need to actually go in and change it, just update it,” Ackas said. “First of all, we are implementing a proposal for a bigger budget. We have to prove that with the student population growth, there needs to be money growth.”
Ackas went on to say that they also plan on enforcing the allocations guidelines more strictly, in order to make the process more efficient.
The slates were also asked to define the theme of their platform.
Catherine Stanford, the vice president for academic affairs candidate on the “Where’s the Love?” slate, said that they were most concerned with bringing different student organizations and campuses together.
“We’re trying to work with the students and work on Temple from the ground up,” said Stanford.
“A Stronger Temple” said that their theme would be to continue their work in student government.
“Really, what it does come down to is just a continuation of accountability,” Chow said.
The third debate will be held on Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Bell Tower.
Emily Catalano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2018 The Temple News.