The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Student Body Officer candidates duel during annual debate

Student Body Officer (SBO) candidates gathered amid a packed room for the annual SBO Debate Tuesday evening in the Hughes-Trigg Forum.

Candidates gave four-minute speeches and then were cross-examined by one other candidate in their category. The debate ended with a 30-minute session of questions from the audience.

Student Body Presidents

Student Body President candidates stressed their leadership experience and desire to represent all students.

Candidate Austin Prentice, current student body vice president, cited his many pieces of legislation that he’s written while in Senate.

Candidate Katie Perkins, current student body secretary, asked Prentice to cite other things he’s done, because she said “there’s a lot more to Senate than just writing legislation.”

Prentice defended himself by citing his job as SBVP, saying he made sure the Senate meeting went smoothly. He also added that he implemented one-on-one sessions with individual senators and encouraged people and organizations to come speak to Senate.

Perkins told the audience that her plan involves organizing Senate.

“If the administration doesn’t take us seriously, if the student body doesn’t take us seriously, how are we expecting anyone to take us seriously? We have to organize,” she said.

Fellow candidate Austin Prentice challenged Perkins, saying that was the job of both the student body vice president and student body secretary.

“You don’t have anything on your platform the actual student body president is supposed to be doing, which are tangible things to get done on campus,” Prentice said.

Perkins disagreed with Prentice’s assessment.

“I think that it’s the president’s job to make sure that everything is running smoothly in Senate,” she said. “Also, I do have some things on my platform that contribute to the entire student body and would be the president’s job.”

Perkins’ platform does include working to create more social events on campus.

Perkins asked Mansfield to comment on one of his campaign platforms, transparency. She asked him what he had done during his tenure as senator to increase Senate transparency.

Mansfield said he had met with individual students in Dedman College.

Student Body Vice Presidents

The student body vice president candidates grilled each other on what they had done in and out of Senate.

Candidates Alex Ehmke and Roza Essaw both took credit for extending dining hours on campus.

Essaw, one of the co-authors of a dining hours extension bill that passed unanimously, said that she met with the managers of both Umphrey Lee and Mac’s Place to discuss extending dining hours. When they weren’t receptive, she did research, interviewed students and brought the input to Senate.

“When the first-year senators were able to pass it with the unanimous passage of legislation and with a lot of research, it’s no surprise that we have extended dining hours for Umphrey Lee and Mac’s Place,” she said.

Ehmke, however, noted that it took his and some other senators’ follow-up meetings after the legislation’s passage to get extended dining hours.

“They wrote the legislation and then nothing kind of happened for a couple of months until myself and two other senators worked with Umphrey Lee staff, worked with the director of external services in order to make sure that extended dining hours would not just be on paper, but it would actually happen,” he said.

Ehmke quizzed Essaw on this point after she spoke, noting, “You can’t just write legislation and have it be done.” He asked her to cite incidences where she followed-up legislation.

Essaw responded by citing the dining hours bill, saying it got passed unanimously and she went around and got petitions from the student body.

“We had hundreds and hundreds of signatures, so when they saw those petitions, when they saw the unanimous passage of the legislation, that’s one way I affected that aside from just writing legislation,” Essaw said.

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