Student Government Candidates Debate
Sarah McQueen

Tuesday, March 5 the Student Government Association hosted the presedential debate in the Dreyfus University Center Theatre at 5 p.m.

Presidential candidates Michael Howard and Ryan Specht and vice presidential candidates Daniel Rawley and David Boardman discussed topics ranging from financial issues to their favorite places on campus. The debate was made up of pre-structured questions, as well as questions from the audience, and lasted about an hour and a half. The event was well-attended, and many students had questions and input.

“I will be looking for strong leadership qualities and people who have intimate knowledge of the views of the student body,” said Charley Greiber, a business administration and economics major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The candidates seemed to agree on some core issues, the importance of: hearing the voices of students, staff and faculty alike. Both teams voiced their desires to find more ways to include students in the government processes. Candidates took different stances on controversial issues.

“The biggest issue, among many, that we are facing today is issues of inclusivity and diversity,” Specht said. “I think that this campus has an excellent opportunity at this moment to surge ahead as a leader on diversity and inclusivity issues.”

Boardman and Specht went on to talk about how they would like to work with the Veteran’s Club, nontraditional students and the Tutoring and Learning Center to help increase and encourage inclusivity and diversity. Boardman and Specht also wish to continue working with government at the local, state and national levels.

Rawley and Howard emphasized the idea that the university should save money by doing its best to work with the programs they already have and work harder to make sure students are aware of their opportunities. Howard also mentioned having town hall-like meetings where students would be welcome to voice their thoughts.

“We need to look at what is the biggest problem, and from my point of view it is the fact that tuition has risen every year,” Rawley said. “We need to continue to provide affordable education. Stevens Point has a great value of education. We need to continue increasing that but find a way to do it without constantly increasing tuition on our students.”

The proposed smoking ban is another widely discussed issue that Howard and Rawley do not support.

“We strongly disagree with this. We think that, frankly, while smoking is bad for your health, it’s also still a right. There is no reason that we need to ban smoking on campus,” Howard said during the debate.

Howard said, as long as people comply with rules about staying outside, 15 feet away from the doors, he has no problem with allowing smoking on campus.

Specht rebutted with his take on the matter.

“My opinion is the opinion of the students,” Specht said. “Whatever the students vote, that is the action of the student Senate. My opinion really doesn’t matter on this issue. Whatever the students vote, I will honor and uphold.”

Students will have the chance to vote on the smoking ban in the upcoming election.

Boardman and Specht have both had two years of experience working with SGA and a part of many campus projects such as the Green Funds and a Diversity Training program.

“Really, what it comes down to is service to the student body, whether through SGA or the various roles that we play on campus,” Boardman said.

They hope to put their experience to good use in the presidential and vice presidential office.

“It’s not just experience, it is also dedication to continue going on,” Specht said. “It’s one thing to have all this experience sitting around. It’s another thing to take that and then make that apply as you carry on.”

Howard and Rawley are both freshmen at UWSP. Rawly feels that he has a lot to offer when it to comes to environmental and sustainability issues, Howard stated that he is a people person and hopes to put his social skills to work.

“We felt like we could provide a fresh and unbiased view to issues of this campus,” Rawley said. “We have been in various leadership positions before. We are running as middlemen for the students as someone that they don’t have to be afraid to come and talk to and hear out their concerns and opinions and transfer that over into some sort of possible change.”

The elections will be held March 15 through March 21. Ballots will be issued via email to all student accounts.