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Student Senate candidates for president, VP and treasurer debate executive role

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Candidates for next year’s Student Senate president, vice president and treasurer debated important issues and what it means to hold an executive position Thursday at the Executive Town Hall in Walter Hall.

Hannah Clouser, Courteney Muhl and Steve Lichtenfels represented the UNITE ticket and debated Jordan Kelley, Alexis Apparicio and Kiera Fletcher, who represented the Impact ticket.

The two tickets shared what is important to their ticket’s platform and how they would follow through with initiating change on campus.

“Intent does not equal impact,” Apparicio, running for vice president with Impact, said. “The Impact ticket is different because we understand that it takes more than just a platform to bring change.”

Clouser, the UNITE presidential candidate, said that the UNITE ticket has proven to “practice what it preaches” and follow through with its plans.

UNITE candidates combated the idea that they are the “internal ticket” by saying that it is not a bad thing to have Student Senate experience since this year’s Senate was able to revive its reputation and make real changes.

Muhl and Clouser focused on their involvement with the judicial panel and how it would hold senators accountable for their actions.

The Impact ticket said it believes its leadership could bring fresh perspectives from outside of Senate, which allows them to understand the needs of all students on campus.

Both tickets agreed that student outreach is a major problem facing next year’s Senate, and both talked about new ways to help students get more involved with the body.

UNITE shared its speak platform, which would include the development of a public relations team, streamlining emails and a bimonthly newsletter about what each commission is doing. Additionally, it wants to live stream general body meetings get members out to attend student events and table outside of the office.

Impact said it would like to be more personable, make mandatory office hours in academic buildings, drop boxes for student concerns around campus and attend student organization meetings.

Student safety was also a large concern of both tickets, specifically when it came to sexual assault, diversity and inclusion.

The two tickets differed on their views of an anonymous incident reporting system.

“Though it is not a solution and it is not a perfect step, it is important to preserve the anonymous system because at the very least we can start gathering data,” Muhl, the UNITE vice president candidate, said.

On the other hand, the Impact ticket said it believed that an anonymous system makes it too hard to follow up with the victims and that creating a safe place for victims to feel comfortable enough to talk to other students about what happened would be a better solution.

When it came to diversity, UNITE said the university needs to educate students on what diversity is and what it means. They think it is important for freshmen students to learn right when they get to campus; however, education of this topic should continue through a student’s whole college experience.

Impact said that students from different groups of people need to interact with each other and that there needs to be more inclusion of different groups on campus. Apparicio said that people could say the university is diverse by numbers on a page but it is not something that is “held dear” to students.

The tickets discussed sustainability on campus and each ticket said that the university could improve in that area.

The UNITE ticket suggested adding more compost bins around campus, making sure all students have access to recycling bins and also considering the sustainability fee that was presented at Wednesday’s general body meeting.

“We want to push and advocate for student organizations that are already putting on these programs,” Kelley, presidential candidate on the Impact ticket, said. “We also want to cut back on the use of single-use plastics available at the dining halls and markets, which is something we’ve talked about with Culinary Services.”

Additionally, the candidates talked about what they personally would want to do if elected.

Lichtenfels, running for treasurer with UNITE, said Student Senate should be relevant because it has the most power and resources to cause the most change.

Fletcher, Impact’s treasurer candidate, said that she wants to make sure all students know what is going on within Student Senate.

Both tickets encouraged students to vote and attend the last debate held March 25 in Scripps Hall.

EDITOR’S NOTE: TNP Managing Editor Austin Linfante and Impact presidential candidate Jordan Kelley were roommates during their freshmen year at Ohio University.

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