The 2012 Debates: A Comprehensive guide to the USG Elections
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 01:04
The ideals of their party surround the shared sentiment among the leaders that “USG lead[s] a very dominant role on campus, and if we were to step back and support club growth, [it would] encourage students to get involved.”
Adding to the wreckage of March 23 for CWB was the stepping down of Adam Camacho from his presidential candidacy, leaving Ke Wei at the helm of the party, Christian Sanchez in the executive vice position, and the treasurer slot empty.
Camacho had no comment as to his reasons for stepping down other than that they were personal.
Ke Wei said in comments after the party reshuffling had taken place that, “It certainly did remove people who were questionable in my eyes as candidates for the next government; we believe that you shouldn’t hold anything in.”
He explained this comment by saying, “Essentially that’s really what happened: Slava and a few others wouldn’t voice their ideas, and they decided to leave. Because [Suit Up] did the split so close to campaign deadline…it’s left us both [CWB and Suit Up] in a lower stance than we were before so we have to build back up. But I have to say with our active voice, we’re building back up very quickly.”
Amidst all this turmoil, there were some rumors spreading of a possible “socialist” USG party bid, with someone suggesting that it be entitled “INGSOC” via Facebook comment threads on the topic, though the party never came together, at least not officially.
Of this entrance to the scene of yet another political party, Chris Catalano of A Better Baruch said, “I’m glad there are more parties running – I just hope that all the parties involved are taking this seriously…it’s a full time job and it’s not a joke if you win.”
“Because we’ve had a long time to be organized, that gives us a leg up. We’ve spent a lot of time picking specific candidates for certain positions, and I feel that other people are kind of grabbing people to fill the positions rather than finding someone who’s going to do the job right. But I welcome the competition,” Catalano concluded.
As USG elections grow near, tensions between parties continue to be high, with relations marred by accusations of platform stealing and lack of commitment or lack of connection with the students’ interests circling from and towards all parties both via Facebook and through The Ticker-hosted debate on the evening of Tuesday April 2.
What is the difference between these parties?
As the debate progressed, there was a mood of veiled animosity between members of the parties that added an electric current to the proceedings, and at some points, tensions looked like they were about to really boil over.
Elisabeth Greenberg, Editor in Chief of The Ticker and moderator for the night’s debate began the event by saying, “The Undergraduate Student Government is inarguably one of the school’s most important organizations.”
“Its leaders have many responsibilities and a great deal of power. Tonight, you as candidates have the opportunity to discuss what makes your own party ideal, answer questions on your platform points and of course challenge each other on various positions.”
Following introductory messages, each team had the opportunity to respond to a series of questions. Each team had three minutes to respond to the initial questions, with each team given one minute to respond to another party’s statements. After this, candidates were allowed a two-minute rebuttal to responses by other parties.
Early in the debate, each party was asked to grade this year’s USG on their effectiveness at achieving their goals. Surprisingly, Chris Catalano, who currently holds the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs in USG, gave the lowest grade, though Slava Brodetskiy’s criticisms were the most poignant.
“I’ll give them a B+. With a curve,” Brodetskiy said, getting one of many vocal reactions out of the crowd.
He then went over the platform for the current USG elected party, Stand Up! Baruch, picking it apart one point at a time. “Push for new minors and majors? USG instrumental in competitions? The Student Bill of Rights has not passed this year, regular conversations with students don't happen. The online forum for students hasn't gone live,” these were just some of his critiques.
There was yet another burst of chatter from the crowd as Brodetskiy addressed Catalano’s remark that, “Slava, you’re an elected official as well, and I haven’t seen you in months.”
“I’ve been at every building fund meeting, but Chris, you haven’t been attending the meetings with Dennis Slavin about Pathways,” shot Brodetskiy.
Catalano’s reply to this was that there was a scheduling error, and that “these things happen.”