Mary Porter

Staff Writer

On February 4, candidates running for the position of Student Government Association president will participate in a debate to address the needs of the student body prior to the Category II Elections on Monday, February 8. 

The debate will take place in the Lilly Gallery, and although “‘the format [varies] from year to year,’” according to Pablo Zevallos ’16, the current SGA president, one can expect that the candidates will answer questions from a Davidsonian editor as well as a few from audience members. Candidates will have 60 to 90 seconds to answer questions, and rebuttals, if they are included, will be limited to 30 to 60 seconds.

The majority of people from a sample group of students reported that they do not plan on attending the debate. Indeed, many of the students questioned were unaware that there is an upcoming SGA debate. Low attendance has been reported in the past, with an audience of about 100 people last year. Zevallos hopes to increase that number this year. Students who reported that they will be attending the debate expressed interest in candidates addressing topics of “racial and ethnic relations on campus” and housing constraints on campus. Erin Golden ’16 stated that she is interested in learning about how the “[Residence Life Office is] going to better place people coming back from abroad.”

The SGA debate will be an opportunity for students to learn more about the candidates running for president in preparation for elections. In addition to voting for SGA President, students will vote for SGA Vice President as well as for class senators. If necessary, runoff elections will be held on Thursday, February 11. In the past two years, 50% and 46% of the student body has voted in elections. One student expressed that he will likely not vote in this year’s elections because he feels, as he stated, that he does “not know what I would be voting for.” Alternatively, another student expressed that she will be voting because “‘it is nice to have a say in those who will be making decisions on campus.” Similarly, Frankie Kang ’18 stated that she will be voting because it is a “student’s right to vote, and I don’t want to forfeit that right.”

Zevallos is hopeful that the transition of the incoming SGA president as well as the new student government officers will be relatively seamless. Zevallos stated that in the past “the transitions have been terrific with only minor hiccups.” He also noted that “‘from the beginning, I’ve worked to organize the SGA folder on my OneDrive to ensure a seamless transition for the next administration.’”