Student involvement, through different methods, along with in-house changers were the themes of both BOLD’s and FOCUS’s campaigning at Thursday’s debate for who would lead next year’s SGI Executive Board.
The debate would lead to BOLD confronting FOCUS on taking campaign points practically word for word from one of last year’s tickets.
Despite running on two different tickets, both parties’ platforms mostly revolved around SGI representing students better.
“The goal isn’t to just be elected,” said Kevin Grover, running for president on the BOLD ticket and current SGI vice president, “but to have a place students can come with their concerns.”
Grover’s opponent, Christian Williams, running for President on the FOCUS ticket seemed to share this sentiment. “We work for you,” Williams said, “you don’t work for us.”
What differed between the two parties, however, was how candidates said they would carry out these motives and why they were best qualified to do so.
Elizabeth Sheehan, incumbent Sophomore senator and secretary candidate for BOLD, proposed SGI instituting an open door policy, which would include listing times representatives will be available so students know when they can come into the SGI office with concerns, and the proper SGI executive with whom they can discuss concerns.
Bill Conallen, running for secretary on FOCUS, partially disagreed with Sheehan, saying that he felt SGI has always had an open door policy, and students are always welcome to come in with their concerns, and that the FOCUS party would continue that trend should they win the election.
Sheehan said her experience with Student Engagement would help her get students more involved on campus. She added that her status as a commuter would help relate to, and address, the concerns of other commuters.
Mike Lopato, who is running for senior senator as an independent, said his impartiality from both tickets will allow him to deliver a “new, fresh and unprecedented” way to represent students.
Lopato also said SGI could spend money more wisely, citing his opposition to the organization’s provision of over $17,000 to Fashion Club for their recent spring fashion show.
“You all paid for that fashion show whether you went or not,” Lopato said, going on to say that if elected, he would help put SGI money to better use.
Along with stating their qualifications, criticisms were also made as to why candidates felt their opponents were incompetent.
BOLD’s presidential candidate Kevin Grover accused FOCUS of running on the same platform as last year’s POWER ticket, which Gover ran on, and even read examples from the two drafts that were nearly word-for-word. (Editor’s note: An editorial in the March 21 issue of The Torch first mentioned this).
BOLD’s vice presidential candidate Oscar Diaz reiterated this claim, going so far as to suggest that perhaps FOCUS used POWER’s old platform along with a thesaurus when composing its policy initiatives.
These accusations were mostly ignored by FOCUS; at one point the party’s presidential candidate Christian Williams rebutted with, “I don’t want to go tit-for-tat,” and encouraged students to “vote for the ticket you think will best represent this school, because we have that swag.”