“To be frank, the booster is just a way for the candidates to basically pimp themselves to the student body,” English senior Desiree Cotton said of the Student Government Association booster/debate held Wednesday night.
“Well although the debate is an important tool for SGA positions, having it outdoors . (was) a waste of time,” Cotton said. SGA President Lamark Hughes explained the logic behind the event merger and venue change.
“More students were able to hear the debate even if they didn’t want to,” Hughes said.
The booster and candidate debate are typically held on different nights. The booster was usually held in the Quad and the debate in the Black & Gold Room.
This time the booster occurred in the Quad and the debate panned out on the front steps of T.H. Harris auditorium.
The booster included a DJ, free candy, food, snow cones, blow-up games, and raffles for photo shoots, handbags and flat irons.
“Who has the best giveaways and food? What does that have to do with anything related to SGA and what’s best for the student body?” asked Cotton.
Candidates addressed the low-completer review, graduation, retention, pursuing federal funds and the perception that GSU houses international students separately from the domestic population.
Hunter Robinson and Jeanes Hall were referred to as “international dorms,” by presidential candidate Channing Gaulden.
“Are we not segregated when we say that?” asked vice presidential candidate Justin Madden.
Madden said that the dorms were divisive and needed to be torn down.
Presidential candidate Arsenio Wilborn did not agree with supporting the demolition of the buildings.
He said that some students cannot afford to live in Tiger Village and that the option to remain in an older dormitory could be the deciding factor in keeping these students at the university.
Other candidates offered radical responses and questioned the state’s current leadership.
“Governor Bobby Jindal, isn’t he great?” asked Madden.
“We have to organize against Bobby Jindal,” Madden said as an amen corner stated their agreement.
SGA treasurer candidates Metria McCall and Tevin Conway went toe to toe over budgetary concerns.
While student leaders might want rapper Young Jeezy to come to campus, Conway emphasized, they might need to hear from the likes of Minister Louis Farrakhan and other “intellectuals” instead.
McCall is president of the Favrot Student Union Board and told Conway and the crowd not to confuse FSUB with SGA.
They are separate entities with separate budgets, McCall said.
Gaulden said that he wanted to bring better speakers to the university and improve relationships between students and teachers.
Presidential candidate Kenneth Williams said that he would work with the director of campus dining to refund students’ money if they do not use their meal plans during the semester.
Secretary candidate JeMarcus Jackson ran unopposed and assured students that he would use his GPA and keep accurate records for SGA.
“I’m very organized,” Jackson said. “That’s how I do it.”
“I don’t have a platform,” presidential candidate Jonathan Allen said. “They are usually fake.”
“I have a vision,” Allen added as the crowd erupted with applause.
Budget cuts remained a hot topic.
“We have to find innovative ways to fight them,” vice presidential candidate Rodrick McGill said.
McGill suggested that GSU unite with other HBCUs and schools within the University of Louisiana System.
Last fall SGA organized a trip to Baton Rouge with other state schools to protest at the capital building.
Students urged state leaders to hear their concerns then and students also expressed concerns at the debate.
Student curriculums must be contrasted with the appropriate job markets, Wilborn said.
The candidates emphasized togetherness and education routinely throughout the night, although perceptions of the event were mixed.
“I think that the booster was a success, “SGA president Lamark Hughes said.
Hughes commended the administration and police department for allowing the event to occur without standard clearance documentation.
He admitted that the two-for-one gathering was evidence of “trial and error.”
Monroe native Cotton offered her take on the happenings.
“The booster has always been a waste of time and a waste of money to the candidates. . I think the election process/activities need to be revamped.
“Those responsible for the rules need to quit changing them every year,” Cotton said.
Hughes offered advice to the next SGA president.
“I just want to tell whoever wins that he will have to gain the support of his officers.