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USG hopefuls square off

Undergraduate Student Government presidential and vice presidential hopefuls were given their only chance to publicly debate campus issues last night before this year’s election.

At the USG 2008 Debate last night, the candidates came prepared to discuss the issues important to them, but only around 15 students were there to listen – including members of USG.

The four teams running for the positions discussed different ways to reach out to students, effectively communicate USG policies and make changes both on and off campus.

The teams, which include John Waynick and Sundeep Mutgi; Jeremy Lehman and Leo Almeida; Jarell Potts and Sarah Shepard; and Jake Gallardo and Sean Crisafi, began the debate by answering questions from USG Chief Administrator Ashley Douglas.

The biggest concerns brought up by the running teams were what the individuals felt were the most pressing issues facing USG next year.

For Waynick and Mutgi, creating a student bill of rights is the primary concern.

By creating a student bill of rights, more power would be given to USG in order to better represent the students, Waynick said.

‘For example, during the rollover scandal, USG was only given two weeks to make a decision, which is not enough time and completely unfair,’ Waynick said. ‘With a student bill of rights, we would be able to ensure that things like that would not happen.’

The team would work over the summer to get the framework down and then would give students the opportunity to add their views when they come back to campus in the fall.

But for Lehman and Almeida, the biggest concern is students’ money. According to the running mates, Ohio will be facing a budget year next year. And though the legislature will be discussing what organizations will be receiving money, academics are rarely paid attention to, Lehman said.

However, Alemeida and Lehman plan on changing the lack of money given to academics by actually going to Ohio legislatures offices during the spring and the summer if elected.

‘Our hope is that they vote to not put a freeze on tuition, but also to increase the budget for Bowling Green,’ Lehman said. ‘We would ensure that any money we receive would be allocated properly, towards residence halls and academics and others.’

For Potts and Shepard, getting students involved in USG is the most pressing issue facing the campus.

To resolve student apathy, the team plans to hang posters in the Union with the photos, e-mails and contact information of USG senators and cabinet members.

They also hope to send out e-mails to students at least once a week telling them what is going on in USG.

‘We must start doing things that are relative,’ Potts said. ‘In order to get things up and running, we must go out to campus and ask people what they need done.’

For Gallardo and Crisafi, holding USG senators accountable will be the No. 1 issue facing USG next year.

They supported their decision by mentioning the ‘enormous’ potholes located outside of Olscamp and the lack of motivation by current senators to get such problems fixed.

‘If a pothole costs $250,000 to fill, we will work to get senators to raise that money,’ Gallardo said. ‘It’s time to start talking and start doing.’

For junior Brian Scavo, the debate reinforced his vote for the team he decided would best represent him in the coming year.

‘When answering the questions, they actually answered questions and weren’t to sensational when they did so,’ Scavo said. ‘They told you their plans and told you what they were going to do to carry those through, which is something a lot of the other teams didn’t do.’

For current Vice President Nick Gamero, the debate showcased who has the lead in the election, which will be held March 24 -28.

‘I will publicly endorse who I’ll support when the wrong people are getting ahead,’ Gamero said.

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