The annual SGA debate was held on Tuesday, Feb. 1, in the Student Activities Center. The debate gave the candidates a chance to share their platform to students and the members of the Student Government Association.
Jake Haston, Joshua Quattlebaum and John David Mathews, the candidates for SGA president, discussed their platforms with Rett Waggoner, the current SGA president, who was moderating the event.
Joshua Quattlebaum, senior in finance, was first to speak and share his campaign slogan, “Full Throttle with Quattle.” He explained that this encapsulated his plan to increase communication and advocacy for the student voice.
Quattlebaum emphasized his goal to create an event educating students on all aspects of wellness, including "mental health, physical health, intellectual health and social health."
John David Mathews, senior in business administration, opened with a reference to a line in the Auburn Creed, “a spirit that is not afraid.”
Mathews emphasized listening to student concerns and communicating a feasible solution to the administration. He continued about conflicting feedback from faculty, "That is a good thing that there is a difference of opinion. That means the student is being heard and is being taken to administrators."
Jake Haston, senior in journalism, explained his goals in three categories: SGA improvements, student experience and academics.
Haston described his goal of increasing the affordability of an Auburn education. He plans to do this by adding "more loanable technology options available on campus." These options are to include calculators and other potentially expensive but necessary equipment.
Jake Darling, senior in finance, is the single candidate for SGA treasurer. Darling focused on improving awareness and education on current financial literacy programming already in place.
Coleman Turnipseed, senior in political science, and Brandan Belser, junior in political science, discussed their platforms as candidates for vice president.
Turnipseed spoke first and highlighted her commitment to “fight for the needs of students.”
Belser explained his campaign slogan, “Bold and Bright with Belser.” He explained that the “bold” represented the military students he wants to advocate for, while the “bright" represents the graduate students.
Waggoner questioned the two candidates about what one topic of legislation each candidate would pass in Senate if it were the only bill that year.
Turnipseed stated that she would pass a resolution to improve safety across Auburn’s campus. She explained that in a recent class lecture, she had learned about "Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs," which emphasizes safety above almost all else.
Belser chose a resolution to educate students on the opportunities to expand student organizations through receiving funding from student activity fees. Belser said these funds are often not serving students to full potential because of a lack of awareness.
Each candidate was asked how they would improve equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts as vice president.
Belser talked about his work during his time as an SGA senator, where he recently wrote a bill clarifying the process of adding liaisons and special committees to SGA Senate.
Turnipseed focused on improving the standing committees that currently exist in SGA Senate by adding a diversity, equity and inclusion member to each committee.
Voting for SGA will begin on Friday, Feb. 4, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Callouts will be held the same day at 10 p.m. on the steps of Cater Hall.
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