USG presidential candidates face off in debate

The Undergraduate Student Government Presidential Debate was held on April 20 in the Baruch College cafeteria. The debate questions were addressed toward Rise Baruch’s Isabel Arias, Theta Apple Pie’s David Scholes and independent candidate Max Meneses representing his platform, Baruch Joy. Independent candidate Abdourahamane Diallo, representing his platform #Change, chose not to participate in the debate. Hosted by The Ticker, the debate was moderated by News Editor Jonathan Sperling. The questions came from the staff of The Ticker, students who submitted their questions via a Google Form and students who attended the debate.

The debate was also livestreamed on Facebook, where students could post comments with their questions for the candidates in real time.   

Many questions centered on expanding upon the tenets of their campaigns, such as how they will encourage uninvolved students to participate in student life at Baruch, how each candidate would promote diversity in USG and what ideas they hold for USG going forward.

When asked how they would promote transparency in USG—something that has been campaigned upon by each platform—candidates attempted to differentiate themselves through their proposed approaches.

While there have been mentions of an open door policy for USG by each campaign, Meneses stated, “While I believe that is great, I believe that has to be pushed more than that. Transparency doesn’t just go one way.”

Meneses believes that students should not just come to USG—USG should go to the students. This goes beyond the usual activities and services that USG offers to students, he explained, and will extend to spreading awareness on all services Baruch offers to students.

Arias detailed how, besides financial transparency in USG and transparency in opportunities for Baruch students, her USG would be transparent on how clubs and organizations could work with USG to achieve their own goals. Rise Baruch’s platform is to reinstate workshops for clubs on appeals, budgets and cosponsorships, so that club leaders better understand these processes. Arias also explained that the chairs of USG would meet with any students who have questions on these matters and be available as resources.

“As representatives, that is our job—to be there for the students,” said Arias.

Scholes would post the senate meeting agenda at 12 p.m. on Tuesday before the usual 5:30 p.m. meeting in order to give students an opportunity to understand what will happen at the meeting before it actually takes place.

“The reality is most students are not going to be able to attend that meeting, but they should know what’s happening at that meeting and they should know what’s been voted on because it directly affects their money and directly affects their everyday experience at Baruch,” said Scholes.

Theta Apple Pie would also stream the meetings online and push to have committees meet more frequently.

Some questions were targeted toward specific candidates. When asked about the fact that Rise Baruch’s extended platform was not available at the time of the debate, Arias said that the in-depth platform would be released in the following days.

She also asserted that many of the campaign’s ideas have already disseminated through flyers and by campaign members.

Scholes was questioned on how Theta Apple Pie would enact its idea of pairing each club on campus with a senator so that each club has a representative on the senate table. Scholes stated that it is a part of the senator’s job to be available to students and the program need not to be too taxing to senators. The senators should serve as a resource, Scholes continued, without having to sacrifice themselves.

Other questions inquired after each candidate’s ability to merge members of opposing teams into a functional USG, as well as how qualified the candidates are without having previously held an executive board position within USG. All candidates reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with members of opposing parties and felt that they were suited for being the president of USG.

Students will be able to vote for USG candidates on April 22, and between April 25 and April 27. A recording of the debate is available on The Ticker’s Facebook Page.