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Vice-Presidential Debate Report

Last nights Executive debate began with the vice-presidential debate, providing the VP hopefulls an opportunity to emerge from the shadows of their ticket-mates. The two vice-presidential candidates, San SunOwen and Athan Papailiou, tackled questions ranging from slate politics to the Virginia Tech shooting, in an exchange which was every bit as heated as the following Executive Debate.

On the issue of slates, SunOwen reiterated her tickets condemnation of slate politics as “undemocratic” despite a number of issues which call her position into question. Papailiou pointed out that there is functionally no difference between the “slate of endorsed candidates” of the McLain/SunOwen campaign, and the Campaign for Change slate, and SunOwen validated his point by actually referring to “our slate,” only asserting that they don’t ask their slate to vote for them. Papailiou failed to mention that SunOwen consistently votes with the slate that was run by the President who appointed her, but this fact further undermines her credibility on this ridiculous non-issue.

On the issue of stipends, Papailiou brought up two real problems with the stipend model, specifically the long “exceptions list” and the examples of stipends exceeding programming funds and suggested that these areas were ripe for reform. SunOwen played directly to her base in the programs, asserting that they would not reform stipends, and accusing Hamilton and Papailiou of not supporting student groups by passing the 2.5% benchmark. “You haven’t supported groups in the past,” said SunOwen, “Why should we believe that you will support them now?” Papailiou responded by stating that the final PFC budget would have been a nearly 5% increase if the Administration hadn’t assumed Career Center funding, and that this increase level was in line with typical funding increases for groups. On the issue of PFC reform, SunOwen was vague, saying that plans were “in dialogue,” while Papailiou was clear in his commitment to a real plan. “We are an on-campus ticket for on-campus issues,” said Papailiou. The Campaign for Change further cemented this advantage with their EMU Master Plan, which is simultaneously a sustainability plan, a plan to give groups more space in the EMU, and a revenue-building plan which will increase the amount of retail space in the building.

When the time came for audience questions, the VP candidates were asked about what they would do to improve campus security in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. SunOwen was clearly flustered, and delivered a vague and rambling statement which included no plan of any kind. Papailiou spoke about the need to fill student advisory committees, particularly the DPS advisory committee, and demonstrated the need for this kind of participation on a number of issues, besides public safety. This final question really crystalized the differences between these two candidates. SunOwen was flustered and defensive from the first question, and although she was passable when she stayed on-script, her ideas, rhetoric and sentence structure became nearly unintelligible when she strayed from her pre-coached responses. In sharp contrast, Papailiou was calm and collected throughout the event, speaking clearly and with considerable knowledge about the many issues facing campus. When SunOwen would attack, and play to her base, Papailiou would simply show a far better understanding of the issues, and commit to representing all students.

See video from the event at the ‘Ol Dirty Emerald.

  1. elliot says:

    where’s the presidential debate report?? very interested.

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