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Candidates debate their way towards election

Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates debate the issues relevant to the election at the USG Debate on April 2 in the Student Activities Center. From left to right: Adil Hussain, Yiufat and Anna Lubitz.

 

By Anusha Mookherjee, Opinions Editor, and Michael Cusanelli, Staff Writer.

In a USG debate hosted by the Stony Brook Speech and Debate Society, this year’s candidates for President, Vice President and Treasurer debated for just over an hour on issues that affect students on campus. This election will put in many candidates that have control over the use of the student activity fee, along with providing many services to students. Voting will start Monday morning on SOLAR and will be open for the week.

President

Adil Hussain- The After Party

During the debate, Adil seemed to be the most relaxed of the presidential candidates, often leaning casually over the podium and even dropping a few curse words on occasion. He really connected with the audience and came off as a regular guy, without all of the forced formalness of some of the other candidates. One of the big promises Adil made was to keep an “open door” policy for all students to come see him at any time. He stressed transparency and making USG a more personable organization so students feel comfortable walking in to talk with him about their questions, concerns and advice for making the school a better place for everyone. Hussain also wanted to make sure that the Undergraduate Activity Fee goes toward events that the students choose through more detailed and widely distributed surveys so that more of the student body has a say in where their funding goes. Adil has previously held the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs in the USG.

Yiufat Lam- The HOUSE Party 

Yiufat, although well-rounded and knowledgeable about many aspects of Stony Brook, lacked a certain enthusiasm that students may look for in a potential president. Lam also spoke about having transparent communication as president, and also wants to foster better communication between leaders of the various colleges for a more balanced student government. He himself admitted that he lacks any real administrative experience, which came off as both refreshingly honest and a little worrisome. It was nice to see him point out his own faults without other candidates calling him out on it. Though he has had leadership experience at the university as a resident assistant, he did not give off the same sense of confidence and ability that both Hussain and Lubitz did.

Anna Lubitz- Seawolves For Change Party

Anna Lubitz seemed to be on the defensive Tuesday night, often spending a good chunk of her time justifying her past decisions. To be fair, there were a good deal of attacks from the other candidates, but overall Lubitz came off as sounding phony and unpersonable. Her promises seemed to lack detail and were more generalized than some of the other candidates’. However, as the incumbent president, she has more knowledge of the responsibilities of being president than her opponents, so she may have tapered her responses to reflect that knowledge. Overall, Anna seemed to be nervous, reserved and just a little underprepared for the flak she received from Hussain and Lam.

Executive Vice President

Ryan Heslin- Seawolves for Change Party

As a current USG senator, Ryan Heslin came across as very relaxed and enthusiastic. While he was not afraid to criticize some of the other USG members, he offered realistic and interesting solutions to many of the problems he feels are plaguing the current USG administration. Although Ryan was a very good speaker and energized the crowd, he also came off a bit vague in his opening statement as to what he actually planned on implementing. However, he did make up for this somewhat with his later statements about his responsibilities to the student body.

Mallory Rothstein- The After Party

Mallory Rothstein, also a current USG senator, has much of the same experience as Heslin but lacked some of the enthusiasm and charisma of her opponent. Though she agreed with Heslin in most of her statements, their ideas on meeting formality separated them. While Heslin wants to implement shorter and more focused USG senate meetings, Rothstein feels that less formality and more open discussion will help allow for a wider range of opinions. Unlike Heslin, Rothstein spent more of her time naming her qualifications for the position instead of rousing the audience.

Treasurer

Wesley Hawkins- Seawolves for Change

Newcomer Wesley Hawkins certainly looked more apt for the job of USG treasurer, dressed in a shirt and tie and eagerly citing his past financial experience managing club funds, such as the Stony Brook club hockey team. However, he lacked the prior experience of current USG senator and opponent Brian McIlvain.

Brian McIlvain- The After Party

Bryan McIlvain, a current USG senator, appeared to be a little less engaged in the debate as his opponent. Dressed only in a polo and slacks, he failed to give off the professional attitude of Hawkins.

Overall, the debate was a good introduction for the upcoming election. It had a great turnout from students, with many of them needing to bring extra seating in. It was clear the main issues revolved around student involvement and transparency of USG. The concert came up in discussion multiple times along with campus dining and new methods of communication. Social media and surveys were the proposed ways to reach out to students. We strongly feel Adil Hussain was the strongest candidate coming out of the debate, along with Ryan Heslin. Wesley Hawkins just shyly edged out his competitor, but the role of Treasurer is still a toss up. Overall, it was an impressive debate, and every candidate stepped up this year and really gave it their all.

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