Student candidates square off in final USG debate
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 01:04
The second and final round of the 2012 USG Debate hosted by The Ticker and WBMB took place last Thursday, April 19 in room 3-150 of the Vertical Campus during club hours.
Three presidential hopefuls were seated around a single, shared microphone to square off, explaining why each thought his party’s platform is ideal while taking plenty of opportunities to point out the weaknesses in the platforms of their opponents.
To start, each took a moment to introduce him self and his ideas before being subjected to a series of prepared questions.
From there, the floor was opened up and students were able to directly address each individual candidate.
Chris Catalano of A Better Baruch was the first to take the mic, setting forth his challenge that, “everyone in this room has seen [A Better Baruch] out there for almost a month now.
"You’ve seen me for almost two years now doing my thing. I think that’s really the most important thing to think about when you’re doing student government…getting people who are willing to put themselves out there.”
“A smile goes a long way,” he went on, “and people might say that’s a silly thing but I think that’s where you start…you start with the individual change.”
From there, he says, “you can start focusing on the other points…opportunities in the college, making progress with the facilities on the campus, and really getting a great education.”
Next, Slava Brodetskiy from Suit Up Baruch took his turn to discuss why he entered the race.
“We actually started very late in the game this year and it was extremely difficult to organize in such a short period of time…but the reason why we…got together and I decided to take this risk was that I have a specific vision for USG next year; I don’t want the same flow into next year.”
When Suit Up was formed, it was very close to deadline for party platform submission. While this may have had a negative impact on the party’s ability to really stew their ideas, Brodetskiy saw it as a positive thing.
“What we were able to get done in four days…has challenged me and has challenged our leadership, has challenged our whole entire team, and we know that from everything that we went through in the last two weeks that we can make a huge, huge impact on this school,” said Brodetskiy.
Then Ke Wei, Connect with Baruch’s figurehead, stepped up and explained, “Connect with Baruch came together upon the dream that we really hope to connect all the entities at this school, from administration to student life, to student services, because that’s really what we have a lack of here.”
“Like Chris touched upon…we do have a lack of community [at Baruch College],” he said. His party was built-up “to provide the students with the value that they could be getting. Baruch is a gold mine of student a service that are being cut and underutilized and that is quite frankly, really a shame.
"As representatives of Connect with Baruch, we want to provide the students with more benefit, more representation, and hopefully, more action.”
As has been explored in depth in The Ticker’s online exclusive, “The Debates 2012: A comprehensive guide to the USG elections,” these parties are all very interlinked due to the nature of their formation.
Chris Catalano’s team, A Better Baruch, began forming in December last year. It wasn’t until February – when current USG Finance Chair Adam Camacho was booted from the roster – that a second party was formed under the banner Connect with Baruch (CWB), with Ke Wei stepping into the presidential position after Camacho dropped out of the race amidst party turmoil that led to formation of a third party, Suit Up Baruch, with Slava Brodetskiy in the top slot.
The first question of the night addressed the probability that whichever team dominates next years’ USG seats, there is going to be some cross-pollination, especially due to CWB and Suit Up’s lack of a full slate going into the elections.
Catalano noted that his team does have a full slate before saying, “It will be very hard, say if someone doesn’t win and the rest of the slate does…at the same time, I think it’s a great opportunity for people coming in with a new idea."
Brodetskiy next said of Suit Up, “We have only about 38 people with about 40 slots covered, so we’re definitely going to have to work with people from [CWB and Better Baruch].
“What it’s really going to come down to is me and Ke…or someone from his team sitting down and talking, going past our differences to really make things happen at this school. To look at their platform, look at our platform, and say, what can we accomplish together? And likewise with Chris and his team.”
In regard to Connect with Baruch, Wei told the audience that even before joining CWB, “working with people and team dynamics [was] one of the things that made Connect with Baruch stand out to me. We also do not have a full slate, so we will also be working with the two teams next to me.”
“What makes me comfortable with saying that we will be able to…work with people with opposing views is, we’re already used to working things out…debating things. We’ve done it democratically once." If they’re voted into USG, “things will run basically the same way,” he said.
In a response, Brodetskiy began discussing the diversity of students, mentioning that VP hopeful Sara Dowd is the only female Vice Presidential candidate as an introduction for his statement that “out of the 13,000 students [at Baruch], we found the competent people; we found qualified people who will be able to get their job done.