David Kramer/The Hoya GUSA’s executive candidates debated last night in Bulldog Alley.

Candidates running for 2001 GUSA Executive positions voiced their opinions on the most pressing issues for Monday’s election in a televised debate from Bulldog Alley Thursday evening. The debate focused on the proposed Yard Student Association and the reform of student government as well as measures to increase campus unification and community identity.

Following a brief introduction and a statement of their respective platforms, the debate moderator invited the six pairs of candidates to state their positions on the Yard, specifically asking proponents of the Yard if they felt they were being hypocritical in running for GUSA positions.

“We are totally supportive of this constitutional review that is currently underway,” Brian Walsh (COL ’02) said of he and his running mate, Ryan DuBose’s (COL ’02) stance. “The two co-chairs of the committee [Jamal Epps (COL ’01) and Rob Bauer (COL ’02)] are fully endorsing us because they believe in our leadership ability,” Walsh added.

Michael Green (COL ’02) and Jeff Watkinson (MSB ’02) said they are not firmly decided either way. “We believe that the Yard is too extreme. We believe that GUSA, as it currently stands, is not doing enough,” Green said. “We believe that [GUSA and the Yard] should meet somewhere in the middle.”

“We’re for change,” Brian Dunleavy (MSB ’02) said of he and his running mate Rena Borucki (COL ’02). Borucki said the Yard would be comparatively unresponsive to the needs of the average student. “One of our big issues with the Yard is the lack of student representation for the average student,” she said. While they said the Yard provides adequate representation for upperclassmen, the two said they believe that it fails to support freshmen and sophomores.

Joe Kildea (MSB ’02) and Byron LaMotte (COL ’03) similarly did not support one system over the other. “One of the biggest problems with GUSA is that there is a lack of representation of the various groups on campus,” Kildea said. “If we can accomplish what the Yard is trying to do through GUSA so be it. We’d rather keep it that way than trying to uproot the system,” he said. “But, if GUSA proves to be ineffective then we’d not be opposed to changing the system.”

Likewise William Jarvis (MSB ’02) and Douglas Herrema (COL ’02) did not state a specific position on the matter. “[We are for the Yard] if and only if it can involve enough people,” Jarvis said.

Johnson Elugbadebo (SFS ’02) and Amar Weisman (COL ’03) were the only candidates to assert a definite standpoint. “We’re for [the Yard]. I’m not afraid to tell you that,” Elugbadebo said. “If [the Yard] were not to pass, I think GUSA ought to take a hard look at its constitution,” he added. “With 70 percent of students not voting, something’s wrong.”

The second major issue addressed involved the strengthening of campus community. Candidates were asked what steps they plan to take as GUSA executives to improve Hoya unity.

Kildea said he feels GUSA needs to reevalute its abilities and bring the university community together through arts and theater programs. LaMotte added that increasing activity on campus could potentially pave the way for better outside relations. “More on-campus activities would greatly aid our problem with neighbor relations,” he said.

Dunleavy highlighted a few of the ideas he and his running mate have proposed. “There should be more e-mails telling us what GUSA is doing, maybe bi-weekly e-mails to all of us on campus,” he said. Borucki also discussed the idea of holding weekly, non-alcoholic parties on Copley Lawn that would be open to students for a $2 fee.

Green and Watkinson listed the programs that they think would increase campus identity as well. “The community is the main focus of our campaign,” Green said. “[We don’t want the neighbors] to see the students as `them,’ we want them to see it as `us'” he said. Green discussed his goal of having barbecues on Copley Lawn, bringing back the Block Party and pub and establishing a billiard hall.

“If we want to build community at Georgetown we need a student center,” Elugbadebo said of his and Weisman’s viewpoint. “We need a place where people can congregate,” he added. Weisman also touched on the efficiency of the Yard over GUSA in making transfer students feel more connected to the undergraduate experience.

Jarvis and Herrema agreed with the previous candidates suggestions. “These are all wonderful ideas and we plan on implementing any and all of them,” Jarvis said. He additionally touched on the importance of not only being a top university in academics but also in reputation.

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