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April 13, 2010

DU brings party to SG debates

Next Generation and Delta Upsilon’s Moose Party traded promises and pithy remarks at a Student Government (SG) elections debate in the Reynold’s club yesterday. The debate, which attracted few attendees, also featured candidates for undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Next Generation is running on a platform based in part on accessibilty transparency, posting a plan for its first 30 days in office on the slate’s Web site.

“Every single year, transparency and accountability is brought up," said third-year Patrick Ip, Next Generation’s candidate for vice president of Student Affairs, in an interview. “I don’t think any other slate has put up a timeline of what they want to do in previous years, and despite the Moose Party being our only competition, we want to be held to the highest standards.”

The slate is running to help RSOs by buying three used vans that can be rented out, and to make SG more accountable by moving office hours to the C-Shop.

Ip said his party “got many points across. . .despite that the crowd was mostly supporting DU.”

DU’s Moose Party, which advocated a physical fitness test of beer pong, keg stands, and flip cup, made up 80–95 percent of the audience, according to estimates by candidates from both parties. In an interview, third-year and Moose Party candidate for president Riley Heckel said this “shows the apathy that exists among the campus. ”

Heckel said the debate should be an opportunity for SG candidates to share their platforms and also “simultaneously allowing the Moose Party to have a really great time with it.”

Third-year and candidate for Undergraduate Liason to the Board of Trustees Rafael Menis said he would focus on unifying the community rather than communicating with the Board—the liaison only meets with a few members of the Board once a quarter. Without student unification and communication, “this is the vote of one student who happens to have this opinion, but we don’t know if its supported or not,” he said.

Menis proposed that Facebook and the SG Web site be utilized more fully in order to connect students and gather student feedback.

First-year candidate for Undergraduate Liaison Frank Alarcon said in an interview he was “both realistic about the role of the liaison and at the same time. . .optimistic about the ability of the liaison to expand its influence.”

Second-year candidate David Akinin pointed to low turnout—he said a maximum of 10 students attended the debate—as proof “students at our University are not as passionate about our [student] government as they should be,” and suggested working with advisors and SG’s Graduate Council to build awareness around SG.

Neither Menis, Akinin, nor Alarcon said getting a vote in the Board meeting is a goal. “The advisory role that the student liaisons play is far more important than the ability to cast one more vote . . . l can still be extremely influential without the formal power to cast a vote,” Alarcon said.

Akinin argued for restricting plans for explanding the liaison’s role. “We should try to impress them with our voice, we should try to gain their trust, because right now we are just students and they are fellows with 40 years of business experience making strategic decisions,” Akinin said.

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