Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Candidates debate to sway votes at SGA debate

Students had a chance to meet each of the candidates for SGA president and vice president on Monday night.

The Student Government Association Presidential candidates took the stage on Monday for a debate hosted by SGA and the Observer. The tickets are: SGA secretary Charlie Bentley and senator Sarah Funke, senator Kevin Zaldivar and Community Advisor Alyssa Rueter and senators Blake Randolph and Jake Speechley.
Bentley and Funke began by stating their platform first and highlighting their combined six years of experience. They also expressed their excitement to improve campus and empower students.
Zaldivar readily apologized for the absence of his running mate, Rueter. He then read the diversity statement that President Bahls recently released. He discussed the need to improve our mental health care system on campus and touched on cutting down emails to develop a “less stressful” environment.
Randolph and Speechley stepped forward with their slogan and plans for the future of Augustana College, “real leaders, real goals, real change.” They focused on their key platform points, which included mental health awareness and cleaning our campus. They also noted that they want to push to not have classes on Martin Luther King Day and work towards securing the MAP grants that haven’t been allocated by the Illinois General Assembly.
The Bentley/Funke administration has been discussing their campaign since November.
“We really want to connect the gap between the students and the administration,” Bentley said. “It’s very important that we empower our students.”
Zaldivar continued to stand for diversity.
“There are social barriers that our institution has created,” Zaldivar said.
The Randolph/Speechley administration said they would like to work with the counseling center and make sure that people are aware of the services they provide.
Opinions on the previous administration were strong, and the candidates had a lot to say about what they would do differently.
“SGA is very cliquey,” said Randolph. “I really want to break down the barriers of SGA and the other groups on campus.”
The Bentley/Funke administration promised to build the bridge between the administration and students of Augustana. They believe that their previous experience on SGA has given them the resources to fully understand build the gap between staff and faculty.
A moment of tension arised when Zaldivar called out Associate Dean Ken Brill, who hasn’t agreed with some of Zaldivar’s ideas regarding the Multicultural Programming Board office. Zaldivar said although Brill didn’t agree with his ideas, he was still going to push for the new office to be constructed.
Students believed that the debate was an overall success and really enjoyed having the opportunity to hear the platforms of each candidate.
Junior Amanda Ico has been attending these debates since her freshman year at Augustana. She said the debates are a great resource to inform students and tackle issues that are very important to these students.
“I believe that it allows us to see our candidates respond to issues we may not be aware of ourselves, and makes us as a student body more informed to make our decision when we vote, which I encourage everyone to do,” Ico said.
Ico was also willing to endorse a set of candidates based on what she heard from the debate.
“I stand behind Secretary Bentley and Senator Funke,” said Ico. “They have the experience within SGA and relationships among students, faculty, and administration to provide the best leadership for the student body and produce feasible change on campus.”
Sophomore Nick Marino is openly supporting Blake Randolph and Jake Speechley.
“I support the Blake and Jake campaign because they are targeting problems that are realistic and current to the student body,” Marino said. “They are not shooting for unrealistic goals that as a result would be a waste of time.”
Marino also adds that Blake and Jake are both very active in campus and have shown success within their involvements making them strong candidates for SGA President and Vice President.
The election will take place on March 29-31.

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Candidates debate to sway votes at SGA debate