Candidates debate the issues

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, ASG presidential candidates squared off in a debate in the Campus Center lobby. Corey Shears, ’12, and Kami Forgie, ’12, took on Shane Downing, ’11, and Jamie Havens, ’11, on topics ranging from ASG’s importance to what each ticket would do if elected.

JAMES SCHWENDENER/THE CAMPUS

Downing, a candidate for president, is studying abroad in Australia. He was able to participate in the debate via Skype.

Havens’s opening statement laid out the plans for what they hope to accomplish if elected.

“Shane and I would like to highlight our three campaign goals,” Havens said. “Which are to make ASG more accessible, to strengthen campus organizations with the hope of uniting our campus, and the third is to start looking at the strategic planning now by laying the groundwork for the next ten years at Allegheny.”

Forgie’s opening statement addressed problems that her side sees with the way ASG is currently operating.

“Here at Allegheny, there are two separate worlds; the Allegheny students, and the Allegheny Student Government,” Forgie said. “Our goal is to bring the two worlds together.”

Forgie and Shears pushed for more transparency throughout ASG as a main part of their platform while Havens and Downing emphasized their experience in addition to their platform.

The moderator, Director of Student Voting Stephanie Albert, ’10, asked why it was important for ASG representatives to seek out student opinion.

“Shane and I, being on ASG for the last three years, have really tried hard to reflect the opinions of the student body within ASG,” Havens said. “We served on the student life committee for the past three years as well, so we’ve really been involved in taking what people say across campus, taking it to ASG and getting things done.”

“A good way to do this [give students a voice] is giving students the opportunity to voice their concerns,” Shears said. “One thing I heard from many students is that there isn’t much of a venue for students to voice their opinion.”

Shears then went on to say that more venues need to be created, which could include having ACTV record and broadcast weekly Senate meetings.

One of the problems that Havens sees is that students are unsure of the workings of the finance committee. She believes that members of organizations should be re-educated on the process of obtaining money from ASG.

Havens names the “Invisible Children” project on campus as one of the things she is very proud of working on.

Shears, in an interview with The Campus, calls this last year a learning experience while leading a class that “hasn’t been very motivated.”

“It has been different in the first semester learning how we are going to get our senators motivated,” Shears said.

The strategic plan lays out the future of the college, and Downing believes that ASG has a role in this.

“Our role is to continue talking about the strategic plan,” Downing said. “We need to make students aware of it, continue green initiatives and make sure everyone know that the plan is there.

The debate was sparsely attended. Sixteen students were seated in the audience while 28 other students observed from the balcony.

“We obviously would have wanted every seat filled and all 2,000 students here tonight,” Albert said. “But we’re glad some people gave up part of their night and came out tonight.”

Voting ends on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010. The results will be announced on AlleghenyCampus.com Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.