While SGA’s presidential candidates have been campaigning for the past few weeks, Monday night’s debate marked the final push before elections on Tuesday.
The debate was moderated by current SGA President Mary Margaret Turton and was divided into three parts.
Turton asked the candidates a range of questions, giving each candidate a chance to respond before moving to the next question.
Turton’s first question was how a president should maintain a diverse voice in the student body, ensuring that students are accurately represented throughout the year.
While all candidates underlined the importance of engagement from SGA to its students, Jordan Bailey, junior in industrial and systems engineering, cited the importance of having diversity within the cabinet as well as the student body.
“We have a lot of students [who] are involved with a lot of different things on campus,” Bailey said. “The only way to actually hear their needs is to have them in the meetings with us.”
Following this, Jack O’Keefe, junior in building science, spoke to his experiences speaking to students on the concourse, saying, “you need to be able to listen to students… so that when I go into meetings with administrators, I can say I’ve thought about this [issue] from a different student’s perspective.”
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Turton then asked the candidates what issue they thought was the most pressing to the student body.
“The most pressing issue facing Auburn is that 30% of Auburn [students are] food insecure,” said Jacari Holt, junior in political science. “7,634 students go to bed hungry every night.”
Ada Ruth Huntley, junior in global studies, chose to focus on student safety, saying, “One thing that’s in my platform that I would love to implement is allowing students to be able to request and track security shuttles, live, through an app on their phone.”
Following this, Turton asked the candidates how they would go about settling a divisive issue between students and administration.
“Differing of opinion is always going to be present,” said James Sadie, junior in finance. “It’s about coming to find, in common terms, where each person stands, and [how] they came to their own decision.”
For the last question, Turton asked the candidates to state how they had advocated for diversity in the past.
According to Bailey, while Auburn has been ranked among the nation’s happiest campuses, there still remains a large gulf in relations between different racial groups and the LGBTQ community.
Huntley spoke to her experience serving as the Inclusion and Diversity committee chairperson in SGA senate, saying that “it has allowed me to engage with a lot of different student groups on this campus, and also allowed me to work on really incredible projects.”
The debate then ended with a quick summary from each candidate on their respective platforms.
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