ASG presidential candidates debate, election results soon

Kevin Murphy, ’24, (left) answers a question during the first portion of the presidential debate. Both tickets sat facing the audience in Quigley Auditorium on March 14.

The Allegheny Student Government Presidential Debate gave the candidates the opportunity to show students how they would execute their campaign promises of inclusion. ASG held its presidential debate between the two tickets on Tuesday, March 14, in the Quigley Hall Auditorium.
The polls opened on Wednesday, March 22, and will be open until 9 p.m. on Friday, March 24, with the winner announced by 9 p.m. on Monday, March 27. An update will be published on The Campus’ website when the results are made public.
Nicole Recio Bremer, ’25, and Sam Ault, ’26, ran as the presidential and vice presidential candidates for one ticket, facing off against Kevin Murphy, ’24, for president and Manasvi Bantawa, ’24, for vice. Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Campus Roman Hladio, ’23, and ASG Attorney General Abigail Estrada-Hernandez, ’25, moderated the event.
Bantawa took the podium first for opening remarks and began by highlighting the diversity of backgrounds and strengths between her and Murphy. Bantawa said their strength comes from their differences.
“We have a lot of distinct beliefs, about life, about religion, about many things,” Bantawa said. “It is very important for us to extend what we have learned to the real world and we hope to extend this to our community and build a community where we can have lots of common grounds and be able to find what we believe and have ample discourse about what we believe in and what we want to see and change.”
The central reason why they are running for president and vice president is the student experience and the culture on campus, according to Murphy. Murphy said that based on his experience, the culture on campus and the way people interact are one of the most important parts of student life.
“ASG should take a central role in these parts of the student experience, including campus culture,” Murphy said. “I believe that some aspects of the structure of ASG and some of the policies that ASG operates under should be changed and amended or expanded in some cases so that we can play a more active role in areas.”
Recio Bremer opened saying their ticket was running out of love for the Allegheny community.
“Sam and I have worked very hard for the well-being and unity of everyone,” Recio Bremer said. “Our deep and diverse connection to Allegheny has provided us the ability to see where we can grow as a college community and as a student government.”
Ault said some of their inspiration came from Recio Bremer’s commitment to holding herself to a higher standard as a first-year representative than the ASG constitution required.
“Nicole and I recognize the possibility of student-led transformation on our college campus,” Ault said. “We stand for the expansion of communication, student’s voice and collaboration. We stand for enhancing the experience of what it means to be an Alleghenian.”
The next section of the debate included a Q&A where Hladio asked the candidates a series of questions by students who submitted questions through an online form. The tickets were each given two minutes to respond.
Responding to the question “How will you ensure that all voices are heard in regard to student issues?” Recio Bremer answered that they have different ideas within their platform as to the college committee participation. She explained that there are many committees in which students are able to participate and they plan on encouraging more voices by having more people in the committees.
Ault added that they are planning to collaborate with committees and have conversations about the work of certain offices and committees.
“ASG would work in collaboration with, say, the head of the Campus Life and Community Standards Committee to have an open-ended discussion outside of the closed room where people could come and raise issues or make comments that they may not otherwise have the platform to speak about,” Ault said
For the other ticket, Murphy agreed that committees are an essential part of students’ voices, and they have plans to make sure that the committees remain filled. Some of the ideas they have to keep the positions filled include restructuring ASG and requiring direct public outreach from all ASG members as well as public office hours on a regular basis.
Bantawa elaborated on restructuring by committing themselves to building better relationships with club board members.
“I’ve been a board member for two clubs and none of the ASG members have attended our events or most of them,” Bantawa said. “We have the idea of holding lunch office hours where anyone can drop by and we want to coordinate with the IDEAS Center and the Center of Student Life to know how we can make it more inclusive.”
Murphy next fielded a question on how his ticket would ensure communication with administrators is positive and “not just a litany of grievances brought against them.” He answered that their solution is to have more direct outreach, which would result in more feedback so that they can see what students have to say and what they think is most important.
For the other ticket, Ault added that communication is impossible to have effectively through anger. He said that their vision is to be seen as a resource for students who need to go to administration.
“The vision I have is that students would be able to reach out to a Senate or a cabinet member and be able to talk about an issue,” Ault said.
Recio Bremer elaborated that they are grateful for the current relationships that have already been established by the current cabinet and plan to continue the betterment of these relationships.
In response to the question “What is the future of CILC under your presidency?” Recio Bremer referenced her experience as a past vice president of the International Club and her experiences working with CILC. She added that under their presidency there will be a continuous network of support for CILC.
Ault continued by expressing their appreciation for CILC clubs and said they will continue to support their autonomy and their current work in better establishing their own government proceedings.
For the other ticket, Murphy said that a way they would support CILC is by having mandatory collaboration between CILC groups.
“Essentially, all the different clubs would have to collaborate with another CILC group and have a public event with them,” Murphy said.
Candidates were given the opportunity to ask each other two questions.
Recio Bremer and Ault asked Murphy and Bantawa why they had not been previously involved with ASG, as there are two empty Senate seats for the Class of 2024 and Murphy and Bantawa had mentioned that they have not had a voice to speak.
Murphy answered that while he does consider being a senator a valid way of having a voice, he would prefer to be student body president. He said if he is not elected, he will consider being a senator. He also pointed out that there is a general problem with the distribution of information that causes many people to not know what opportunities are available.
Bantawa added her challenges participating in ASG as an international student who had to be remote for the first year of her college experience. Additionally, her adjustment to being on campus hindered her from being able to participate in ASG.
Murphy asked Recio Bremer and Ault if they believe the current system for students to reach out is sufficient.
Ault responded by stating that they will continue to encourage students to make their voices heard. He added that he will have a buddy system where students can reach out to a senator together so they can talk to administrators and the ASG cabinet.
Recio Bremer asked the opposing ticket about their plan to create a more friendly route to Ravine-Narvik Hall and other safety and disability accessibility.
Bantawa said that they will push to have the path brighter and more active and also have a police car nearby. In terms of accessibility for disabilities, they want to push administration to have more resources for that with better infrastructure.
Murphy and Bantawa chose to not use their second question. The floor was then opened to attendees to ask candidates questions and then moved to closing remarks.
“We want to be grateful for the platform that we have, and coming outside of ASG provides a new discourse and a new outlook on how we perceive things,” Bantawa said.
Murphy closed by saying he truly believes in the ideas they have proposed and he wants to make sure everyone’s voices on campus are heard.
Ault closed with the promise that, if elected, they will empower students to make their voices heard and want to encourage students to share their experiences with them.
“Our platform is not a list of promises and goals,” Ault said. “It is the embodiment of our commitment to our fellow students in our commitment to the well-being in the future of our campus community.”
Voting will remain open until 9 p.m. on March 24. Links can be found on ASG’s website or their Instagram page.