The Student Government Association debate began shortly after five on Tuesday. Formally dressed (and a handful of casually outfitted) students filed in and occupied seats. At 4:59 students were asked to silence cell phones. Shortly thereafter, current Vice President Frank White led a swift and soothing prayer. All candidates were immediately reminded that neither they nor any members of their campaign should employ the Internet (more specifically Facebook and Myspace) to publicize their title pursuits. The same rule is applicable to text messages, though modes of monitoring such cellular activities are unknown.
Text message informants, perhaps?
Once that admonition was issued, an official statement was read on SGA presidential candidate, Chris Harmon’s behalf explaining his whereabouts. (He was required to fulfill internship obligations in Shreveport at 4:30 that day and expressed that only career responsibilities would prohibit him from attending the debate.)
Instantly candidates were launched into Q&A. The first question addressed campus communication problems. SGA presidential candidate, Alonzo Blalock stated that students needed to more effectively utilize “the resources available to us.”
He also said that students are entitled to a publicity committee, hinting that nothing had been done to bring said representation to fruition.
Harmon’s written response spoke of unity. He advocated “unifying amongst ourselves”, further claiming that “past administrations failed”. He suggested hosting rallies to highlight the student voice, and [student officials] becoming more visible “to restore hope at GSU.”
When asked about positive results seen and executed under the executive board, Blalock told a heartfelt story about his affiliation with The March of Dimes, as well as his involvement since middle school and how honored he is to remain actively aiding the cause. He claims that in a week nearly $1,000 was raised to aid the nonprofit organization.
He also spoke of consistent and varied Student Government activity since his freshman year. Blalock claimed to see increased dorm walks, a more readily available SGA, and faster response time for complaints.
He assured audience members that the current SGA made the necessary inquiries regarding allegations of an armed robbery on campus. He claimed that had it not been for those inquiries, the student body wouldn’t have been issued a campus crime report.
Harmon suggested that the SGA needed to approach the media on a more frequent basis. He wrote that some people worked hard to unite the campus, but some efforts produced “no change.” He expounded by claiming that the bulk of the student body isn’t always aware of campus leaders.
He highlighted “fiscal responsibility” as a main concern. Additionally he alleged that $500,000 was issued to students, claiming that students weren’t made aware of the funds, with implications of questionable dollar designation.
Both Blalock and Harmon aced the Louisiana constituent members’ question by rattling off other state schools. Both Harmon and Blalock suggested that elected students needed to more effectively use their summers in preparation for the school year.
Blalock insisted that a “method of strategic planning” and “challenging” peer participation in the political process is the clearest routes to changing the campus.
While the results of the presidential race between Harmon and Blalock has yet to be determined, Steven Jackson, Dominique Stewart and Keisha Johnson are shoo-ins for their positions of SGA vice president, treasurer and FSUB president – all with no opponents.
Jennifer Wilson and Kindrell Plains pursue the position of SGA secretary. With both candidates expressing similar plans for the position, their opening intentions resounded distinctively.
Wilson plans to keep documents organized by implementing an electronic file system. She claims to witness most effective organization using computers.
Rival Plains plans to have monthly meetings with class officers to produce results. Both Plains and Wilson have experience in various leadership experiences.
As the time neared six, the half occupied meeting concluded. Students with questions for Harmon were encouraged to ask him upon his arrival to campus the following day.