By Lorel Durant and Tamia Davis
Student government is arguably one of the most desired positions on campus and with the 2013 debates in full effect that desire morphs into fierce competition between candidates.
That competition was on display for the campus to see Monday and Tuesday night during the Student Government Association debates, which were held in Grim Hall Auditorium.
Candidates were allotted time to give an opening statement before starting the moderated question and answer period. The question and answer period included questions from the audience followed by closing statements.
The debates on Monday night were highlighted by several back-and-forth exchanges among the candidates.
During the debate fore executive secretary, Alicia Robinson engaged fellow candidate Cecelia Blahmah-Sah in a testy exchange.
“Cecelia, at first you wanted to President and then you decided to be VP of external affairs and finally you settled on becoming secretary… which one is it?” Robinson asked.
Blahmah-Sah, remaining calm, promptly responded, stating that she did at one time want to be VP of external affairs, however after reading the student manual and being an English major she realized her talents would be better utilized in the secretary position. Her response drew a strong reaction from the audience.
After a brief intermission, the candidates for vice president of external affairs took their places and began their opening statements. The current vice president of external affairs, Justin Hawkins who is running again, was placed on the hot seat several times.
“Justin, why is it that you promote yourself and your business along with S.G.A.,” candidate Krystal Fluellen asked.
“I cannot help if I am an emerging business man and also happen to be in S.G.A.,” Hawkins sharply responded.
Drawing on a previous audience question, candidate Lowell Howard asked Hawkins to name three academic events his position promoted last year. Hawkins was at a loss and did not answer the question.
Hawkins fired back asking the other three candidates to answer the same question and prompting a blame game ultimately aimed at Hawkins.
Moderator Brandon Harris did not let the candidates off the hook and restructured the question asking specifically what each candidate would do to increase publicity for academic events on campus.
The fireworks on Tuesday resulted in changes to the debate format on Tuesday night. Candidates were not allowed to ask each other questions, which resulted in few exchanges and rebuttals.
The treasure debate was held first, featuring Michael Frazier, a junior and sophomore Hosea Crooms. Both are accounting majors
Frazier promoted “Bringing Awareness Through Fiscal Transparency,” Where Crooms’s slogan was simply “I will work hard today for an easier tomorrow.”
Both candidates described throughout the debate the qualities of what would make them a great treasurer, with each noting their major and previous experience with other organizations.
Candidates were also focused on the 80-20 tuition policy, and recent budget cuts throughout different departments.
Junior Sylvia Legree, was in attendance, said, “I think both of these young men are great candidates, and they will both get the job done. But with that being said I still know who I will be voting for Thursday.”
The debate among candidates for vice president of internal affairs followed.
Junior Charish Anderson, sophomore Nobuko Maybin, and junior Marshari Grissom described their platforms and what made them qualified for the position.
The candidates also answered questions on a range of issues, including raffles, pep rallies and increasing attendance at events.
One young man, Malcolm Towler, current president of the Council of Independent Organizations, traveled from Bowie state to see the debates.
“I wanted to see the ideas presented” Towler said, “We are more than individual schools. People with connections become a network for others to vibe with.”
Faculty and staff were also in attendance and understood the amount of pressure the candidates were under.
“It’s revealing,” Ralph Simpson, director of career services said, “We saw students under pressure and it’s tough. Every administrator has been in the same position, it’s like an interview.”
Wednesday night’s debate will feature presidential candidates Alanna Freeman, Winnie Washington, and Jennifer Gutierrez. The debate will be held in Grim Hall at 7 p.m.