Top candidates forced to defend campaign goals at SA debate

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Lucas Kuo.

The candidates for president of the Student Association went head-to-head Tuesday, attempting to strike down the feasibility of each other’s platforms just a day before the election.

Daniel Egel-Weiss and Nick Gumas – the only candidates for the top seat – were both on the offense, aiming barbs at their opponent’s biggest ideas.

Student Association presidential candidates Nick Gumas, left, and Daniel Egel-Weiss sparred at Tuesday's debate. Desiree Halpern | Senior Staff Photographer
Student Association presidential candidates Nick Gumas, left, and Daniel Egel-Weiss sparred at Tuesday’s debate. Desiree Halpern | Senior Staff Photographer

Egel-Weiss called Gumas’ plans to slash costs of for-credit internships “impossible,” arguing that the move would take money from the Student Association that could be used to fund student organizations.

“That’s $4,000 [per student] that’s being proposed to be taken away, a percentage of that would go to the student fee. I think that it is reasonable to suggest that we lower that rate, but brainstorming for ideas thus far, I have not heard of any way to do that,” Egel-Weiss said.

Gumas acknowledged that it was unlikely that for-credit internships would be entirely free, but said his idea would allow students with 15-credit course loads to tack on a three-credit internship without charge. Gumas said the plan lined up with the University’s strategic plan to incorporate experiential learning into degrees, but that many students were unable to do so because of the heavy costs.

Gumas then raised skepticism of Egel-Weiss’s goal to reduce the $150 fees to rent a GWorld machine. The former finance committee member said he wanted to use up to 2 percent of the SA’s co-sponsorship pool to subsidize the fee.

“You are proposing taking money out of the co-sponsorship fund – which is money that is given directly to student organizations – to pay for a fee they are saying is too large for student organizations. So basically, if I’m correct, you are just reshuffling the money,” Gumas said.

Egel-Weiss shot back that the SA had enough leftover co-sponsorship funds every year to financially back his initiative.

Gumas also blasted Egel-Weiss for his intention of remaining president of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity if he is elected SA president.

Egel-Weiss said he was confident that he could handle the responsibilities because he would only be a part-time student his senior year.

Candidates for executive vice president also laid out their platforms, highlighting campus issues like student involvement on the Board of Trustees.

Juniors Avra Bossov and Chris Stillwell and sophomore Paul Lisbon all said they were in favor of greater student participation with the board, but none advocated for a student member on the board. The three also all stressed campus safety as a key issue, but argued that the University Police Department should not be authorized to off-campus, an idea that has been floated by top administrators.

The polls open online Wednesday at 9 a.m. and will close Thursday at 9 p.m. The Joint Election Committee will announce the results in the Marvin Center’s Columbian Square as soon as votes are tallied Thursday night.

This post was updated on Feb. 19, 2014 to reflect the following:
Correction appended
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the debate was two days before the election. The election begins Wednesday.

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