Presidential Play

The campaign trail led three candidates for Undergraduate Student Government president to Olscamp.

Bernard Little, Jim Wasil and Pedro Machado gathered for a debate last night in their satin ties and stiff collared shirts. The candidates, all three juniors, hope to fill current president Aaron Shumaker’s position as leader of USG for the 2006-2007 school year.

Elections for next year’s USG president are next week and with leadership of the USG body, full paid tuition and the prestigious title of President on the line – the candidates defended their own ideas and issues passionately.

An issue that all of the candidates touched on was money. Wasil established re-working the University’s budget as the most important action he would take if elected next year.

“I’d like to sit down and look at the budget and put pen to paper,” he said.

Wasil thinks the student body needs to be informed on what the budget entails and to know what money is going where on campus. He made reference to the victim’s advocate that was removed from campus due to lack of funds, and was adamant about bringing an advocate back to the University.

Little’s concern was not about something leaving the University, but about something to come. An issue on Little’s platform is to deal with the One-Card system proposed by the University.

“One issue that stands out is the One-Card issue,” he said.

The one-Card system would alter programs like the Bursar and the B!G Charge by changing them from a credit system to a debit system.

The change is one that Little wants to slow down. He cited two reasons for slowing the process. First, he said the University proposed the new One-Card system without telling the student body about it and second, they did not ask for input from the students.

“This is a problem,” Little said.

Something on Machado’s platform which came up in discussion is the cost of tuition. He said he would continue to work with programs like Think Ohio, a grass roots campaign which supports state funding for higher education.

He also knows the change is a big one and one that will take time.

“I can’t sit here and promise to lower tuition,” Machado said.

But Machado vowed to accomplish his goals to the best of his ability.

“I am here to take care of business,” he said.

And the business, as all candidates agree, is taking care of the students. Little stated that his most important duty as the president of USG would be to “meet the needs of the students.”

Little spoke about putting his personal issues aside to serve the students on campus and making sure their voice is a priority for he and his running mate, Kristen Kulbis.

“We want to make sure the school listens to the students,” he said.

Wasil said the same for he and his partner, Chelci Howard. He felt that, as the president of USG, he would need to “be bold” when dealing with student issues on campus.

“I have no problem standing up to the university,” Wasil said. “We are here to work for the students.”

Machado is ready to work with the students. He said if he and his vice-presidential candidate Andrew Wuebold were elected he would encourage students to get to know him. As president he hopes students would visit him in his office and talk to him about their problems when they see him around on campus.

Though each of the candidates considered students a priority, they also had priorities of their own. Candidate Wasil encouraged students to internalize the issues.

“Vote for what you believe in, that’s the most important thing,” he said.