Safety, apathy debated by candidates

Safety, organizational representation and Ball State and Muncie relations were addressed at the Student Government Association presidential and vice-presidential candidate debates Thursday.

The debate format consisted of questions for the four candidates and slate questions that could be answered by either candidate. After all questions, each slate was given two minutes to make a summary statement.

The first question demanded each presidential candidate outline the three most important issues currently facing student governance.

Jeff Malloy, presidential candidate under the Malloy Slate, offered safety, student apathy and student recognition.

"We want to get more students to stay here on the weekends," Malloy said. "We want to recognize organizations to get students more involved in the university."

Malloy said lighting around campus was an important safety issue.

Team Tolu presidential candidate Tolu Olowomeye said academics, student life and campus culture were important.

"We want to make students more aware of the duties and roles of their academic advisers," she said. "SGA also needs to take a broader step becoming more involved in helping to execute the Strategic Plan."

Issues concerning minority and greek students were also highlighted at the debate.

Malloy said the largest problem was involvement. He also said SGA needed to focus on bringing different organizations together. Olowomeye said minorities on campus needed direction through mentoring and leadership.

Greek concerns were recruitment and enrollment. Olowomeye said Team Tolu wanted to change the campus perception of greek life and ensure strong representation of fraternities and sororities in SGA.

Vice-presidential candidate for the Malloy Slate, Michelle Hudson, suggested having greek mentors at freshman orientation for those interested in greek life and people to inform incoming students of other leadership options.

As far as off-campus issues, building a bridge between Ball State and Muncie is Team Tolu's goal. Vice-presidential candidate Megan Pickens said community involvements starts with campus involvement through SGA representation and co-sponsorship.

"When we come to Ball State, we live in Muncie and we want to show the Ball State community what Muncie has to offer," Pickens said.

Malloy stressed the importance of transportation to and from downtown Muncie and involvement in Muncie community events.

Both teams said they felt the debates and campaigns were going well.

Joe Flores, secretarial candidate for Team Tolu, said both teams presented well.

"There were a lot of pressing issues from both sides," Flores said.

Lee Morrison, the Malloy Slate's candidate for treasurer, said the most important part of the debate was getting the issues out.

"This was our first opportunity to speak to the public and address campus issues," Morrison said. "In any debate, any team can always do better and I am excited because we can shine and polish for the next debate."

Panelists for the debate were Renee Twibell, associate professor for the school of nursing, Rob Turning, assistant director of Student Organizations and Activities Rob Turning and Mike Koluch, graduate assistant in student organizations and activities.

The slate debate, where all members of the slate will be able to speak, will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 20.


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