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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Undergraduate Student Government Holds Presidential Debates

On March 26 at noon in Ballroom A, the Undergraduate Student Government hosted a debate between the four teams running for Student Body President and Vice President. Senate Speaker and Election Committee Chair Joey Nguyen kicked off the event by drawing names from his backpack in order to determine the order of the speakers. Moderator Sharik Purkar proceeded to announce the format of the debate.

Candidates were given two minutes to deliver their respective platform statements. After delivering statements, each candidate pair answered three questions. Purkar asked each pair what they perceived as the biggest concern for the student body, and what they believed the role of the president should be. These first two questions were chosen ahead of time by student government officials.

The last question was taken from the audience: what would the candidates do if they were not elected to office? Candidates were given five minutes to answer this final question. This event did not allow for candidates to directly respond to each other’s statements.

Student Trustee Alexis Marvel and Student Body Vice President Kayla Worthey were the first candidates to speak. They cited their experience in the UMass Boston student government and expressed their commitment to the community. Marvel and Worthey emphasized their goal of opening lines of communication between students and administrators. Marvel discussed her intention of “forming a community” and said she would work to “make sure that the state invests more in public higher education.”

Senator Victor Ukatu and Senator and Campus and Community Affairs Committee Chairman Evans Asumadu were second to speak. Ukatu and Asumadu discussed their four step plan to build community through greater involvement.

Ukatu also brought up his experience as student body president at Massasoit Community College. If he is not elected to office, Ukatu will continue to work on as senator. Ukatu declared, “A community here at UMass Boston needs to be built, a foundation needs to be established, so that students could have a stronger voice and work together.”

Senator and Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) Chairman Ignacio Chaparro and Senator David Manning stressed the importance of the student centers on campus. Chaparro defined the role of the president as an advocate for the community and goals of the student body. Chaparro indicated that his chief concerns were “public higher education funding” and building community via “student centers and organizations.”

Senator and Enactus UMass Boston Accounting Director Chris MacRae spoke on behalf of himself and Enactus Umass Boston CEO Jared Ward, who was unable to attend due to traffic.

“You want to vote for someone that’s not going to get to the office and push their personal agenda through, but push an agenda through that’s in the best interest of the student body,” Said MacRae. He also pointed out that he and Ward have “no political aspirations after college.” When the pair first arrived on campus, they never told themselves, “Yeah, this is something that we’re definitely going to do.”

MacRae addressed concerns about students having a say in the goings-on at a campus which is expanding both physically and academically. “We have two brand new buildings coming up, and in the next ten to fifteen years UMass Boston will be one of the elite schools in the northeast. …All of our degrees are going to be worth twice as much as they are now, but amidst all that change we want to make sure our students’ voices are still being heard.”

Many who attended came in support of specific candidates. For others, the debate was a chance to hear the candidates speak in person and better distinguish between the goals of each ticket. One attendee remarked that the candidates’ words were “a lot of fluff, and not a lot of concrete points” but acknowledged the importance of the election outcome. “I came to see what the future of UMass Boston holds.”

The event concluded with an opportunity for audience members to mingle with candidates The student trustee debate was scheduled later in the day, at 1:30 p.m., but was cancelled due to one candidate’s event conflict with Governor Patrick’s visit.

Undergraduate Student Government Senator Nolan O’Brien and President Jesse Wright are running for the office of student trustee. Their statements, as well as statements from student body president and vice president candidates, can be found on The Mass Media’s webpage. Go to https://umb.collegiatelink.net to vote. Polls close on April 5th at 12:00 a.m.