Student body president, VP election debate
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The Student Government Association held their second presidential debate Monday in Marco’s Basement of the Memorial Student Center. Incumbent President and Vice President Matt Jarvis and Emily Kinner went head-to-head with Alex Parlock and Daniel Parlock for the last time before voting opens on March 14 and 15.
Topics debated included budget cuts in the state and at Marshall, LGBTQ rights, the Sodexo contract and student and campus safety. Moderated by Tom Jenkins of The Parthenon and Matthew Groves of WMUL, the candidates were asked a series of student questions and concerns.
Jarvis reinforced that his and Kinner’s platform is based on the well-being of the students.
“Allowing people to be valued, respected and loved as sons and daughters of Marshall, regardless of belief, culture or sexual orientation,” Jarvis said. “We want to give equal opportunity to everyone on campus.”
Alex Parlock, a military veteran running for president, said he values serving the community and unity within the student body.
“This is something that I am invested in,” Alex Parlock said. “We grew up here. We have lived here for 23 years. This is our community; this is our hometown. We are doing this as a service.”
Jarvis said he is “impressed” with the association and how they have reached out to students and the community, but agrees students need to get more involved.
“I have really been impressed with our administration, organization and Marshall as a whole progressing forward this year,” Jarvis said. “Look at campus a year ago, looking at it now and looking at where we will be, I am really impressed and happy in our success in Marshall. Obviously the organization isn’t perfect, but we are a student government. At the end of the day, we are just students.”
Alex Parlock wants SGA to get more involved in the student body.
“We need to get from SGA to the student body,” Alex Parlock said. “We need to get rid of the ‘country club feel,’ because it seems like select group or invite only to the student body. A lot of them do not know what is going on in there. We need to make this a more competitive election.”
The Parlock platform wants to incorporate more student involvement by providing more electronic message boards around campus and in housing buildings on campus.
Not disagreeing of the necessity of getting the message out, Jarvis cited the Office of Communications which found that the best ways to get reach students is through word of mouth, physical flyers and then digital signs.
Jarvis insured that cutting programs is the last thing they want to do and, with Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert, they try to protect those funds.
The Parlock brothers, however, see the need for cuts if the students aren’t using these organizations, but wants the SGA to reach out more to West Virginia state representatives.
Both parties are looking to help with the negotiation of the contracts with Sodexo Dining Services, but they know this is not easy.
Alex Parlock said there is “a lot of wiggle room in big contracts.”
Jarvis said these negotiations are not easy, but they have been in contact with Marshall’s legal counsel, Gilbert and Sodexo representatives this past year.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t that wiggle room necessarily because contracts are a very black and white thing,” Jarvis said.
Audience questions focused on social issues, mostly regarding rights of LGBTQ citizens and INTO Students. Under the Parlock platform, the brothers are looking for absolute unity rather than “segmentation” of people. The Jarvis-Kinner platform said these issues are very personal and emotional.
“People are treated differently in this country,” Jarvis said. “These problems are very real and these aren’t things that can scroll across the screen and be solved. These things are important and need to be talked about.”
The final topic debated was concerning campus safety. Both parties are wanting to make Marshall’s campus safer and more appealing to outsiders. The Parlock brothers want to incorporate the mobile app called “Campus Safe,” which is a mobile version of the “Blue Buttons” around campus. Jarvis and Kinner want to allow MU Alert to reach out to more areas than just areas directly around campus, but they also want to provide additional lighting around campus.
Voting begins March 14 and lasts until March 15. Voting is accessible through Student Services in MyMU under the eVoter Election tab.
Sadie Helmick can be contacted at [email protected]