In a debate filled with agreements, disagreements and slight confusion, members from the three nominated 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) slates presented their opinions and stances tying them back to their platform points.

The SGA All-Slate Debate was held 6:30 p.m., Feb. 18 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom. The four executive slate candidates from two slates, and three from United participated in Monday’s debate.

Elizabeth Latham, vice presidential candidate of United, was unable to attend the debate due to her being involved in a car accident over the weekend, said Jake Biller, presidential candidate of United, and that due to health reasons, his slate thought she should sit out of this debate. 

SGA's six standing committees:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Community & Environmental Affairs
  • Diversity & Multicultural Committee
  • Governmental Affairs & Community Advancement
  • Student Safety
  • Student Services

Following the introductions by members of the three slates were a series of questions by debate moderator Zoe Lawson regarding university-related issues.

When asked a question about Georgetown University professor and author Michael Eric Dyson being invited to campus as part of the MLK Speaker Series, and his controversial stance on the use of the n-word by non-black individuals, the slates offered their takes on the subject.

Biller said he applauds the university’s decision to bring in the speaker because it isn’t often that there is a visiting speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion.

“We recognize that every student has the right to freedom of expression,” Biller said. “But at the same time we recognize that hate speech will not be tolerated here in this campus, and that we need to present a welcoming environment to all students.”

Cameron DeBlasio, vice presidential candidate candidate of Elevate, said university and the administration should have consulted with students a bit more about the situation.

“There are plenty of speakers out there who we could have brought in for Unity Week that wouldn’t have led to the kind of division that we saw with this particular speaker,” DeBlasio said. “To have somebody here, regardless of your opinion about whether that was right or wrong, the fact that it was creating such a divisive nature in the first place is a problematic issue.”

Nate Woods, treasurer candidate of Empower, said he thinks there could be a process of “weeding out” the kind of speakers invited to Ball State. 

“I think we need to focus here on the fact that there’s not enough being done about diversity at Ball State right now,” Woods said.

Later in the debate, the slates were asked what moves, if any, would they make to continue opposing the changes to the Title IX proposed changes.

“Even though we are students, and we don’t think we have this say, we do.” Medellin said. He said that Ball State’s stance is to stand by its survivors. 

Cassidy Mattingly, Elevate’s secretarial candidate, said the slate’s sexual assault monologue event was an example of a platform point related to the issue to “create empathy for people.”

Erin Byrne, secretarial candidate of Empower, said Ball State will stand by its survivors and  even though the #MeToo movement is “dying down,” it is still very much alive. She said the slate wants to show people how to physically protect themselves through the self-protection course that it intends to make a Personal Fitness and Wellness course, one of its platform points.

Biller said Ball State had deep concerns over sexual assault. He said a platform point putting LED lights on light poles over campus will help make the campus safer for travel at night.

“We’ve also, as a slate, reached out to Victim Advocates in hopes of working with them to find even more ways to potentially deduce this issue and maybe reduce the harm caused by it,” James Schwer, secretarial candidate of United said. 

Empower was unable to correctly name two of the six standing committees of the Student Government Association (SGA) at the All-State Debate, Feb. 18, 2019, at the L. A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom. United and Elevate managed to name three committees each. Rohith Rao, DN

As practiced in all SGA debates, slates were asked to name the six standing SGA committees. Empower was unable to name an existing committee, incorrectly stating “Agenda Committee” and “Finance Committee” as their answers. 

When Empower was offered another opportunity to correctly name a committee, Julian Simmerman, presidential candidate of Empower said, “We do not know the last committee.” 

United and Elevate correctly named three standing committees each.

“We had a Finance Committee; there’s not a Finance Committee currently in SGA,” said Isaac Mitchell, current SGA president. “But then we have a Finance Committee outside of SGA that I along with Jalen Jones get to sit on.”

Jones, treasurer candidate of United, said he has “worked countlessly to transform how the Finance Committee will work.”

“We understand, as a slate, how SGA works because we have been in SGA,” Deblasio said. “That is the one thing that you need to understand, and the fact that you have a slate up here that cannot name a single standing committee, that matters.” 

Mitchell said the Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFAC), the finance committee outside of SGA, is a mixture of students and administration.

Contact Charles Melton with comments at cwmelton@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Cmelton144. Contact Rohith Rao with comments at rprao@bsu.edu or on Twitter @RaoReports.