Debate precedes today’s election

With elections opening up this week, Student Government Association (SGA) presidential candidates Luke Holloway and Chris McKinley and vice-presidential candidates Ranessa Potier and M.J. Ahmad made their final campaigns in a public debate on Tuesday, March 22, in the Student Union Theater.

The debate, headed by current SGA President David Cavell, current Vice-President Charika Tolliver and Coordinator Beth Richardson, started off with two-minute opening statements by Potier and Ahmad.

Potier used her opening speech to talk of the positive things that are possible in the next year.

“I have developed a passion to create a positive impact for change that incorporates the voices of you, the student body,” said Potier.

Ahmad kept his opening statement brief, thanking the students for attending the debate and acknowledging the role of SGA around campus.

“We are transparently a vital organization, and we are a growing organization,” said Ahmad.

After the opening statements were exchanged, several questions were posed to the candidates, with each candidate having a chance to answer the same question.

Potier stressed school pride, campus activities and retaining alumni involvement, among other topics.

Ahmad talked of increasing school enrollment and working more closely with the housing office. He also spoke of his prior experience with financial leadership and talked of diversity of the campus.

Both candidates put an emphasis on strengthening connections with student organizations.

After the vice-presidential candidates tackled their questions, the debate proceeded to the presidential candidates, Holloway and McKinley.

This portion of the debate began just as the previous, with both candidates exchanging opening statements.

“We are not just students. We’re the spirit of Southeastern. If we do our duty, as students to our university, if we do our obligations, if we continue to press forward, I feel that we can do anything,” said McKinley, in his opening statement.

Holloway’s opening statement included what would happen if he was elected as SGA president.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve you as your next SGA president, and I vow to hold that title with the utmost humility and respect for you, the students,” said Holloway.

Perhaps the most prominent question of the night pertained to the referendum to increase the tuition fee. Holloway stated that he would use the funds towards scholarships, and giving back to the students in general. McKinley was unsure of what he would put the funds to, but he assured the audience that when the time comes, the money would be allocated properly.

After the debate was over, the presidential candidates added other topics that they felt they needed to reiterate.

“Well, I didn’t mention spirit, and that’s one thing that I think we need to begin with. Even though we have budget cuts and everything and it’s an issue we’re going to have to deal with for a long time, I do think improvement in spirit needs to be addressed,” said McKinley.

“As a student body we need to be focused more on continuing to pursue higher education,” said Holloway.” Right now higher education in Louisiana is facing a problem, and when you have a problem, you need to fix it.