Student Association presidential candidates addressed issues of diversity and communication at the GW Decision 08 debate hosted by the Multicultural Student Services Center Sunday night.
Thirty students attended the event in Funger Hall where panelists – seniors Randall Hudgins and Kelly Leon- – and audience members posed questions to the candidates about how they would promote diversity on the GW campus.
“It is not about pointing out diversity but realizing the diversity we already have,” said presidential candidate Tarek Al-Hariri, a sophomore.
Presidential candidate SA Sen. OG Oyiborhoro (CCAS-U) said he cannot change who people are, but he can change the environment in order to create a more diverse and accepting campus.
“Students have the opportunity to work together and see different lights of the University,” said Oyiborhoro, a junior.
Oyiborhoro added that instead of separating GW by student organizations, it is important that student organizations work together and “represent each other.”
Presidential candidate Sen. Vishal Aswani (SEAS-U) agreed with Oyiborhoro about changing the environment of the University to promote diversity.
“We need to be out there working to change the climate of the University,” said Aswani, a junior. “Whether or not we want to admit it, racism exists on this campus. We need to go out and change the climate we have available.”
During the debate, candidates were asked how they would improve communication with other D.C. area universities.
Steve Miller, senior adviser to presidential candidate Sen. Kevin Kozlowski (U-At Large), said Kozlowski would continue to have D.C. area university leadership meetings like current SA President Nicole Capp had this year. Kozlowski did not attend because he attended his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity meeting.
“Kevin was the only SA presidential candidate who attended (the D.C. area university leaders) meeting,” Miller said. “(Part of Kozlowski’s platform is) GWUnited, which looks at how student government represents students from those conversations. We can learn there are other common issues at other universities.”
Jordan Chisolm, co-organizer of the GW Decision 08 debate said the event was successful.
“The event was more diverse than I thought it was going to be,” Chisolm said. “People from all walks of life came out and asked questions and were not shy to make changes within the SA.”
GW Decision 08 was a two-part series with a candidate meet-and-greet on Saturday leading up to the SA presidential debate.