Three of Miami’s student leaders discussed dining issues and the university’s approach to combating sexual assault, among other issues, at Monday’s Associated Student Government (ASG) Presidential Debate.
ASG hosted the debate at 7:30 p.m. in the Armstrong Student Center Pavilion.
Juniors Meaghan Murtagh, James Gale and Alex Boster are all vying for the position of Student Body President.
The debate commenced with opening statements from the candidates. Each student had one minute to present their personal background, describe past leadership experience and give a brief overview of their platforms.
Murtagh is a marketing major in the Farmer School of Business from Boston, MA. Her vice presidential candidate is junior Vincent Smith. She was a senator in ASG her freshman year and, for the past two years, has worked as a Secretary for Advancement and Alumni Affairs
Gale is a double major in urban and regional planning and economics. He is seeking election alongside vice presidential candidate junior Courtney Rose. In his opening statement, he expressed the campaign’s platform as “come together.” Gale expressed interest in uniting students from different backgrounds.
Boster is a double major in comparative religion and political science. Her vice presidential candidate is junior Charles Kennick. Boster and Kennick are both off-campus senators, and Boster is a former student trustee for the Board of Trustees.
Following opening statements, the candidates were asked four general questions with two minutes allotted for each to respond. Additionally, each candidate answered two questions specifically directed at their respective platforms.
The first general question of the night questioned what the candidates’ top priorities would be if elected to the student body government.
“I’ve been working with international students for the past two years,” said Murtagh. “I’ve realized that there’s such a divide that I think needs to be broken down.”
Gale is most concerned about sexual assault on campus.
“There are so many different factors that go into [sexual assault],” said Gale. “I believe if we were to find a solution to that it would mean that we’d also have found a solution to so many underlying issues.”
Boster stuck to a more general approach.
“As I think about what the top priority is for my administration, I simply want to make things better so that every student that says ‘I am Miami’ — which is anyone that walks onto this campus as a student — that they have the same opportunities that I have,” said Boster. “And [they] love Miami as much as I do.”
The second general question of the night was about sexual assault on campus. The candidates debated both how to prevent cases from happening and how to deal with instances of assault.
The third general question was focused on dining. The candidates debated the system of buffet swipes, declining balance and food selection in dining halls.
The final general question of the night was centered around diversity on campus. All of the candidates saw diversity as a top priority in their platforms and indicated a lack of diversity as a paramount problem at Miami.
Gale’s first specific question regarded his platform’s ambition to investigate potential overlaps in student organization funding. He expressed concern that multiple clubs with similar ambitions both received funding.
His second question was about parking on campus. Gale seeks to change charges based on how many offenses the driver has.
Boster was asked about her goals to install more Uptown entertainment options. She said installing more recreation Uptown would decrease overconsumption of alcohol.
Next, she was asked about her ambitions to raise wages for student workers. She said that RAs specifically were not paid enough and is seeking to increase pay if elected.
Murtagh’s first specific question was in reference to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR). She stated that the lack of an interview process to get on the board was unfair to students.
Next, she was asked about the student involvement in the Oxford Chamber of Commerce. She stated that she wanted a heightened sense of student involvement in Oxford.
The debate ended with the candidates giving their closing remarks, each reiterating their platforms and voicing their ambitions if elected.
All Miami students will be able to vote in the race through the Hub. The polls open on Monday, March 12 at 7 a.m. and close on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m.