SA candidates debate

Student Association presidential and executive vice presidential candidates gave their positions on U.S.-Israel relations, on-campus kosher food options and birth control at a forum Wednesday night.

The hour-long event, sponsored by the Jewish Student Association and Student Alliance for Israel, addressed issues pertaining to GW’s Jewish community. About 40 students attended to hear their candidates’ positions.

“The people here are the people who care,” said Lauren Marks, president of SAFI. “These are important issues that the Jewish population should care about.”

Seven presidential and four EVP candidates answered 14 questions prepared by a number of on-campus student groups.

“(U.S.-Israel relations) is a very important issue for both sides,” said EVP candidate Anyah Dembling. “Peace on earth is important because students care about it. The EVP can help others care about it.”

A female student asked EVP candidate Ed Buckley about his opinion on women’s reproductive health options on campus.

“We live in a nation of very different beliefs, but people have the right to all the best healthcare and reproductive options available; no one has the right to take that away. It is the law,” he said.

The Joint Election Committee will be hosting a similar forum Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Jack Morton Auditorium.

Other questions included accommodating Jewish students during the Jewish Sabbath, advocacy for student groups to the administration and increasing communication between the SA and student organizations.

“I really believe that there are certain values that we all share,” EVP candidate Asher Corson said.

Following about 40 minutes of pre-arranged questions, the audience spent about 20 minutes asking additional questions.

One student asked how the candidates could improve GW’s recycling program.

“Right now any recycling in the dorms all goes down the trash chute,” said presidential candidate Dan LeClair.

A female audience member asked the mostly male panel what the students would do to encourage more female leadership in the SA. Dembling is the only female running for SA executive office out of 13 candidates.

“It is very rare that you see interest generally in the SA elections, whether male or female,” presidential candidate Omar Woodard said.

Candidates also offered comments about their positions on Greek-letter group reform.

“We need to give responsibility back to the Greeks and get a self-governing policy in place for the IFC and PanHel,” said Lee Roupas, another presidential candidate.

“We need to get the Greeks to speak for themselves in the SA,” said Ruarri Miller, also running for SA president.

Clifton Coffey, formerly a presidential candidate, is no longer running. Coffey serves as president of Delta Tau Delta, which recently lost its national charter.

SA presidential candidates Alex Rochestie and Justin Luther did not attend Wednesday’s event.

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