SGA Student Body President, VP candidates to square off in debate

Candidates for student body president and vice president will debate Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Smith Hall room 154.

Matt Jarvis, Nate Miklas and Leif Olson are vying for the student body president position, while Emily Kinner, Amos Parlock and Collin Stipetich are competing as their respective vice presidents.

The debate will be moderated by Student Government Association advisors Matthew James and Michelle Barbour. James said the debate will primarily be focused on the teams introducing themselves and their ideas to the student body.

“We’re going to try to focus this first debate on what these teams identify and maybe a few areas of improvement for student government,” James said.

James said the pivotal changes in both the university administration and student government will yield essential questions for the candidates in this debate and the following debate next week.

“We want to kind of get past the general questions that we’ve talked about in the past,” James said. “We want to get right down to business and talk about who really has the ideas that are going to work the best with our new administrators on behalf of the students.”

James said the rules of the debate are relatively standard. The candidates’ names will be drawn from a hat to decide who is asked the first question. From that point, candidates will have two minutes to respond to questions and one minute for rebuttals. The debate will conclude with a 10 minute student question and answer session.

In the past, three debates were held, one for student body president candidates, another for vice presidential candidates and a third joint debate. James said the intention of two joint debates this year is to emphasize the collaboration that must exist between student body president and vice president.

“These two really work very closely together all year,” James said. “That’s why we have students run as a ticket because it takes a team to run this group. What we like to see, having both of them on stage at the same time, is what natural dynamic emerges.”

James said a third debate is in the cards if student opinion dictates one is necessary.

“However, we can get the voice out,” James said. “I really just want to see a lot of students vote.”

Next week’s debate will be held March 14 12 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center lobby. Voting for the student body election will take place March 15 in the MSC lobby.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected]