Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor
A debate between the two potential University of Missouri–St. Louis 2019 Student Government Association Presidents took place in The Nosh April 16 at 12:30 p.m.
Paymon Porshahidy, junior, international business, and McKenzie Schuessler, junior, political science, are the 2019 candidates.
The race for the 2019 position is especially important, because of the important role the SGA plays in selecting a new chancellor as well as an interim chancellor, which the university will need to do in light of Chancellor Thomas George’s retirement. With SGA having a hand in the choice of chancellor and interim chancellor, the 2019 the SGA President is in a position to shape the university for years to come.
The first section of questions was made up of topics that the candidates had time before the debate had begun to prepare for, while the later questions were written by members of the SGA. After a short break, the candidates returned to their podiums to answer questions from the student body in a Q&A session. Each candidate was asked a unique question and given a three-minute period to answer, their opponent was able to give a two-minute rebuttal in response.
Professor of communication Alan Heisel and Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life Mindy Dilley were the moderators for the event and set the rules for the debate, which included no comments about their opponent’s character or experience in order to ensure the focus remained on how to better the university.
To start off the debate, each candidate was asked what academic area they would like to improve on campus. Porshahidy took the time to discuss the issue of the necessity of improving the utilization of Canvas to ensure students are better able to access their grades and due dates as well as working with professors to set a certain standard for how often grades should be updated. Schuessler took the opportunity to discuss the struggles students may encounter in certain degree programs when classes they would like to take are unavailable during certain semesters. Schuessler would like to work with the university to ensure students can take the classes they wish no matter the semester.
The next question posed to the candidates was what they would do to improve student life. Schuessler replied by stating how she would like to expand SGA’s presence on campus.
“I think SGA is not big enough on our campus,” Schuessler said. “SGA does a lot of things students don’t know about. I want to expand the SGA experience on campus that way students know that I and everyone else in SGA is looking out for them and advocating for them.”
In Porshahidy’s rebuttal, he focused on the topic of keeping students engaged on campus by having an advocated time each for students to get involved in clubs, campus events or even some time to get lunch or socialize with peers.
“The more people who like to be here, the more people are going to do well here,” Porshahidy said. “I think it is a key thing STLCC has done to improve their retention rate.”
The elections ran from April 15-19. Students were able to vote for their preferred candidate either online through OrgSync or in person at SGA tables available throughout the week at the MSC.
To watch a recording of the debate in its entirety, visit the SGA Facebook page.