Charles Nailen/The Hoya Students react to the candidates’ debate Wednesday night in Sellinger Lounge.

With Student Association elections quickly approaching, time is winding down for candidates to get their message across to the student body. The three executive tickets expressed their views on pertinent issues and answered questions from audience members at the Executive Debate on Wednesday evening in Sellinger lounge. Issues included safety proposals, the 24-hour lockdown policy, the New South dining area space, GUTS bus expansion and home games for the men’s basketball team.

Election Commissioner Ramya Murali (SFS ’03) introduced the candidates and their respective runningmates: Stephen Palmese (MSB ’04) and Timothy Nunziata (MSB ’04), Brian orgenstern (COL ’05) and Stephen de Man (COL ’04) and finally Robert Hutton (SFS ’04) and Nazareth Haysbert (SFS ’05).

The candidates were then allotted three minutes each for opening remarks.

Palmese introduced his platform as a revitalizing of the campus community. He opened by instructing students to imagine how much better they would feel about themselves if they could hear a cappella groups in Red Square and karaoke in the cafeteria. “Certain electricity runs high through campus during events like [homecoming],” Palmese said. “These acts of community bring us together as students.”

Morgenstern, who noted that his running mate, de Man, could not be at the debate because he was stuck in traffic because of a “sewage explosion” on M street, outlined an in-depth platform addressing various areas. He emphasized the need to improve campus life, beginning by improving students’ social lives. “[Students] should have a purely social space in New South where they can grab a bite to eat and listen to bands.”

He also said that he would like to make the District more accessible with a GUTS bus expansion. Specifically, he advocated more runs on the weekends and a bus to Capitol Hill, as well as to the Safeway in Rosslyn. He briefly described his plans for an Alumni Connection Web site and the elimination of the lockdown policy.

Hutton and Haysbert gave background information about themselves, not wanting to “bore” the audience with their platform. “I had no one to let down if I ran and the world to let down if I did not,” Hutton said. Haysbert expressed how privileged he felt to be at Georgetown and said he wants to give something back.

Each candidate then spoke about his first priority and discussed the ramifications involved, such as funding and viability. Palmese described himself and Nunziata as “the only ticket with a feasible solution to the money issue.” He explained that the Georgetown Funding Commission was established four years ago with $50,000 allocated. “Students can use it for GUTS or for keeping Darnall open,” Palmese said. He further discussed the need to bring in money and to develop the community. GFC was established during his brother Ron Palmese’s (MSB ’00) tenure as GUSA president.

His running mate, Nunziata, expanded on that, saying that the GFC is already in place and student involvement must be reestablished. “We must go beyond safety and ask what else students want,” Nunziata said.

Morgenstern stated his first priority as creating an Alumni Connection Web site, utilizing resources to collect information and integrating it with the MBNA Career Center. He further described this idea as non-costly and referred to University Webmaster Piet Niederhausen and Executive Secretary of Alumni Association William Reynolds (COL ’79) as important players in the site’s development.

Hutton, on the other hand, stated his number one concern as the health and safety of students. With funding from the safety budget, he hopes to end 24-hour lockdown by moving swipes inside and expanding GUTS hours. He noted Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson, Department of Public Safety Director William Tucker and Vice President of Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank as people necessary to work with. Haysbert added that the safety budget for the coming year is close to $100,000.

Admitting to a somewhat negative opinion on campus, the candidates addressed what they would do to improve GUSA’s image. Morgenstern stated that it needed to “directly influence lives” with regard to sociality, safety and accessibility. “We need to demonstrate output and put results out there,” he said.

Haysbert said that GUSA needs to reinvent and redefine itself as an advocacy committee. “We can bring publicity to GUSA with press conferences, GUTV and by submitting opinion pieces to newspapers,” he said.

Palmese said that GUSA needs to be held accountable, subsequently proposing weekly town hall meetings and weekly columns in papers.

Matthew Hopkins (COL ’03) asked the candidates how they felt about GUSA representing groups not necessarily in line with the Catholic identity of Georgetown. Hutton first responded, stating that there is a Christian ideal of acceptance. “It is important to provide a primary health clinic with resources to educate students about safe sex, STDs and provide follow-up counseling with CAPS,” Hutton said. “It is important for the university to recognize when students are at risk and to protect the doctor-patient relationship.”

Similarly, Mogenstern stated that he advocates free and anonymous STD testing as a priority. He further said that he does not find it obscene for students to hang condoms on their doors.

Nunziata emphasized the need to create a strong sense of community on campus which must be extended to every individual. “Every student should have a smaller community in which to get advice, friendship or anything else they need,” he said.

During closing remarks, Haysbert said he wanted to insure that the quality of life at Georgetown remains the same throughout the future.

Morgenstern, after reiterating his goals of creating the Alumni Web site and expanding GUTS, introduced his goal of having men’s basketball games on campus.

Finally, Nunziata expressed his desire to improve little things on campus that affect daily lives. “We truly feel we represent the face of the new GUSA,” he said.

This event was sponsored by the Georgetown Election Commission.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.