The forum was moderated by The Current Editor in Chief Andrew Seal and held in the SGA Chambers on the third floor of the Millennium Student Center.
Among those taking questions were the four individuals running unopposed for the positions of president, vice president, comptroller and SGA chair. There were also five other individuals running for the Student senate. All but two of the freshmen running for the senate had previous student government or student policy experience. Five of the nine candidates were transfer students.
Jericah Selby, Aleshia Patterson and T.J. O’Neill, running for president, vice-president and comptroller respectively, said they were all running on the same ticket and used the forum as an opportunity to outline their agenda.
“I think we all bring a different aspect as to what’s most important to us…we’ve been seeing students interested in a new wellness center and recreation center on campus and really expanding the university, bringing it to a whole new level than what it is right now,” Selby said. “The University of Missouri-St. Louis is flying right now and I just feel there is so much that a wellness and recreation center can do…that’s one of our main agenda items.”
Patterson, running on the same ticket as Selby, said that as vice-president she would like to work to bring together campus and student organizations and foster collaboration.
O’Neill, running for comptroller on the same ticket, said that he would like to “sharpen the allocation process that the Student Activity Budget Committee goes through [to make] the student clubs a little more satisfied with the process.”
Speaking to another financial issue, Steven Kraml running for student senate said that his biggest concern was the budget. “I have studied and reviewed the financial planning for the 2011 budget at UMSL and it’s currently predicted to be in the red,” Kraml said. “If I could fix anything it would be to bring UMSL back into the black.”
In a later round of questioning, Seal asked the candidates specifically how they would work with opposition. Given recent hyper-partisanship in Washington D.C., Seal felt the question was especially pertinent.
“I think you have to judge the idea not the person,” Patterson said. “People need to realize when you’re on opposing sides that you can’t take things personally and if I’m disagreeing with you it’s not an attack on your character or your personality.”
Greg Laine, a candidate for student senate, said that he thought it was important to “listen with your ears and not with your mouth and take your own biases out of it….it’s about give and take. I think of it as like a doorway, you don’t want to be the doormat where you’re getting stepped on all the time but you don’t want to be the wall where nothing gets through. You want to be the door where you give on some things and stay firm on others.”
Attendance at the forum was sparse, but a few candidates were not without support.
Lashunda Gardner, a tutor with Disability Access Services, said she was there to show some encouraging support for Aleshia Patterson.
Voting for SGA begins Monday, April 18 and runs throughout the week.