SG Debate lays out prospective plans for Red, Gray and Blue parties

Spinnaker

Student Government president hopefuls Matt Brockelman and Chris Warren discussed a number of issues March 8 in a debate at the Student Union Osprey Plaza.

Over 20 students attended. The candidates answered student-submitted questions as well as those presented by the moderator, Alex Read. Each candidate received 90 seconds to answer specific questions, with one minute allotted for a rebuttal.

Both candidates began by presenting their qualifications, including information about their parties’ missions. Red Party candidate Brockelman complemented current Student Body President Sitou Byll-Cataria in his administration’s efforts but said he wants to see changes.

“We feel it’s time to get UNF back to a Student Government that provides the tangible results, the things that you can feel and experience,” Brockelman said.

Gray and Blue party candidate Warren said the Gray and Blue Party has a diverse team that is passionate about making UNF a great school.

“If you want to make a club great on this campus, Student Government wants to make that happen for you,” Warren said.

Read opened the question portion of the debate by asking the candidates about getting commuter students involved with campus life. Brockelman said he wants to increase the amount of money clubs start out with each year to $600 — the additional funds could attract more students to events. Brockelman also wants to segment clubs according to their mission and create specialized advisory boards for each group of clubs.

Meanwhile, Warren said he wants to reach out to military veterans on campus and get them more involved in student activities and increase funds for clubs. Warren also wants to remove the restrictions of how students can use funds, which would allow them to pay for travel expenses such as gasoline.

Both candidates have plans to improve academics, as well.

Warren said he wants to create a school syllabus archive in order for students to see what is required for courses before they sign up for classes. He said he believes this will lower the add/drop rate and improve retention rates around the school. Students would be able to get into classes without worrying so much about waitlists.

“Students need to get into the classes they need [to graduate],” Warren said.

Brockelman has other plans for academics. The Red Party is pushing for the use of a mobile application for Blackboard, which would allow students easier access to the classroom tool using smartphones.

While both candidates agreed guns should not be on campus and there should not be a smoking ban, they disagreed on athletic funding.

Brockelman hopes to increase funding for the athletic program by taking advantage of the inevitable tuition raise by the state and school. Warren said he is against extra funding for the athletic program, and he would rather create a school spirit agency — for which he already has 600 student signatures — to increase vigor for school sports.

Other topics of discussion included parking, events on campus and club promotion.

When asked what their opponent’s strongest trait was, Brockelman said Warren has a passionate love for UNF. Warren said Brockelman has a strong knowledge of the SG Constitution.

Brockelman said he hopes students will stay informed about the upcoming elections and find out more about both parties’ platforms.

“Do your homework on both parties,” Brockelman said. “Don’t settle, get informed — because this election’s important, and the students really do have a voice here.”

For more information on the Red Party, go to facebook.com/votered. For information on the Gray and Blue Party, go to facebook.com/grayandblueparty.

The SG spring elections take place March 22-23.