Conversations in the packed Room 125 of the Psychology building were silenced by a smattering of knocks, echoing throughout the room as the audience readied themselves for the 2017 ASG Presidential Election Debate. ASG senators, campaign supporters, future voters and even Renate Crawford gathered for the debate at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Secretary for communications and media relations, Amy Berg, opened the floor by introducing the five tickets for student body president and vice president, respectively: juniors Austin Worrell and Haley Olvera, sophomores Nick Froehlich and Bradley Davis, juniors Maggie Callahan and Luke Elfreich, juniors Hannah McCarthy and Thatcher Creber and juniors Ryaan Ibtisam and Paul McCreary.
Berg opened the floor by allowing each of the candidates to introduce themselves and their respective campaign platforms.
The Worrell-Olvera ticket pledged to run on the concept of “student success.” The Froehlich-Davis duo declared that their campaign was inspired by a “potential for great change” and would address student issues according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Meanwhile, the Callaghan-Elfreich team, whose campaign slogan is “Let’s start now,” said their platform is geared toward “building Oxford” and creating more opportunities for students. The McCarthy-Creber ticket emphasized expanding Career Services and improving dining, while the Ibtisam-McCreary pair staked their claim as ASG “outsiders” as neither have previously been a member of Miami’s student government.
Berg asked a series of ten questions, six of which were compiled by ASG and four of which were provided by the student body. Students who attended the debate or watched the livestream on Facebook were invited to tweet in their questions.
The debate touched on a variety of topics ranging from plans to cooperate with the administration to efforts to make minority and marginalized student groups feel more welcome on campus.
“Student input is our biggest opportunity for improvement,” McCreary said. “As part of my tenure on the dean’s council I have been personally working to try and get as much student input into libraries as possible. It has done nothing but help solve issues at the library and I believe we can do the same thing with other issues on campus.”
However, when asked how two individuals are capable of representing over 16,000 students on campus, Ibtisam claimed that he and McCreary were “not here to promise the moon,” but would do their best to hear out students’ opinions by hosting a weekly forum.
Worrell spoke candidly about sexual assault and stated his commitment to reforming the OESCR process so that survivors have all of the resources they need to report an assault.
“This hits home for me personally,” Worrell said. “Last semester one of my best friends called me to tell me her story of being assaulted, and as an older brother of three sisters, too, I don’t want my sisters to ever go to a college where this is an issue.”
When asked what they would accomplish during their first month in office, the McCarthy-Creber campaign stressed the importance of expanding Career Services by bolstering its MCAT and GRE programs and providing more opportunities and support for students with majors outside of the Farmer School of Business.
Elfreich pledged to make Miami’s international students feel more welcome on campus by providing signs and other materials with translations for international students.
Near the end of the debate, the Froehlich-Davis ticket caused a stir in the crowd when they announced that both sophomores would be advocating for no pay if elected. Additionally, they promised that, if they were paid, they would donate their combined $11,000 salaries to employ two graduate student interns at Miami’s Student Counseling Services.
“Do not enter the world of despair,” Froehlich said. “We can own this change.”
More information about the candidates’ platforms can be found on ASG’s website.
Students can vote in the primary election on March 13 and 14 on the HUB. The two slates with the highest percentage of the vote will move on to the general election, which will be held on April 3 and 4. If any one slate receives over 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, they automatically win the election.