The Student Assembly Debate, sponsored by the Cornell Review, will ask each of the incumbents questions regarding their positions and goals. The hope is to stir some controversy and differentiate each of the candidate’s positions. The members are Ulysses Smith and Stephen Breedon Stay tuned, as there will be a live-blog for all the action.
5:07 PM: The introduction of the debate is explaining who is participating and what the Cornell Review is. ”We are halfway through campaign week.” The rules of the debate are meant to engage as much debate as possible. There will be opening statements by both Candidates. The incumbents attending are Ulysses Smith and Stephen Breedon. Stephen will Start.
5:10 PM: Stephen is explaining his platform. He wants safer walks home and making more unbiased byline funding. He also wants to tighten the communities of Cornell. He as mentioned his personal characteristics as well. He is an African American and part of the Greek system. In his words, he is “your champion and will “put students back in student government.”
Ulysses has been apart of SA for 5 years now. He wants to express the needs of the community in general. He believes the mission of the SA is to represent all students and their voice. But he doesn’t think we have done that. He wants to bridge the community and tied his work with “diversity” to prove his credentials. He wants to send the message to the Assembly and wants to make sure the SA actually does something.
5:15 PM: Ulysses says that SA is meant to share the voice of the diverse community. He clearly wants more interaction with the student body, so that the SA can do more. He brings up the fact that his opponent has not done enough reaching out to the student body. Clearly being critical.
Breedon responds with how incorrect Ulysses has been. He says that the goal of SA is to pass important resolutions. He wants to make student government more proactive but also effective. His speech is about focusing the SA to meet the students’ interest. It seems both members are very similar in their goals.
5:20 PM: They both mention that student involvement does not have to be limited to specific official channels. Both people have quoted their records to differentiate themselves. But Breedon wants more proactive measures to make the SA have more “on the ground” efforts.
5:23 PM: How they conduct the meetings is the next issue. Breedon has said he wants effective, but selective, participation. Ulysses wants the SA to empower individuals to get more involved during the meetings. Ulysses says that he won’t talk in circles.
5:25 PM: For some reason people keep snapping. Its kinda weird.
5:27 PM: Ulysses has been very critical now. He claims that Breedon has focused more on his campaign then his constituents. Ulysses wants to be more representative a member. Breedon responds with the fact that he has relevant experience and has done the best of his job. He has left it ambiguous as to how well Ulysses has done. Ulysses responded with the fact that the recent legislation that he has pushed is relevant.
5:30 PM: Ulysses would entertain diversity measures in regards to academics but SA has no authority in this manner. The debate has changed from the role of SA to specific issues about students. Ulysses has pushed the diversity initiative onto the colleges to downplay any of his action.
5:32 PM: Both members have said that all they have done is entertain diversity options. They both need more student input. But like Ulysses, they have not given a real stance on this issue. They both claim they would only take on this issue if more people join in.
5:34 PM: There are a lot of statements like “I believe it in principle not in practice” from Breedon. He believes in diversity but not some of the specific measures? Ulysses seems to agree, but thinks specific diversity measures are necessary though not optimal.
5:36 PM: “Diversity does not mean equal minority.” According to Ulysses its about engagement?
5:39 PM: Ulysses thinks that the administration has not done enough to communicate effectively their programs to SA. Ulysses wants to bring a administrative consultation to increase the conversation of SA agenda.
Breedon responds that academic change is a long process. He wants to put in student input into the Diversity council that deals with the administration. But he qualifies that any changes in academics wont be visible so we should go through channels that are already being developed.
5:43 PM: Ulysses believes that the students can create changes, sometimes even overnight. It is a more progressive ideology.
5:44 PM: Breedon thinks that academic changes take a long time. Such as changing courses required.
5:47 PM: Ulysses wants to make a more transparent process for byline funding. He wants to set a standard set of criteria in which people evaluate appeals for funding. Ulysses thinks the SA pre-determines parts of the funding process.
Breedon states his position. He has been apart of the funding decision. He says that his experience with different programs and thus can better relate to appeals. He believes he can be more objective than his opponent when creating protocol. He wants to create more transparency within all parts of the byline funding process in SA. Their positions are very similar.
4:48 PM: Breedon is really focusing on his relevant experience. Ulysses, though he has not served on appropriations committee, has been in the process for three years. Ulysses has been apart of the appeals process as well.
4:51 PM: The conversation switches to the candidates’ platforms. Ulysses thinks Breedon is only focusing on trendy topics. Instead, Ulysses has issues that have more general policy goals. He wants the other members of SA to come up with specific policies. This suggests a more passive role as President. He claims to be the ultimate representative.
Breedon responds. He has chosen issues that benefit every student on campus and are very important. He claims that these issues come back each year.
5:53 PM: Both want to create accountability but Ulysses thinks the committees do a decent job, but that SA can do more.
5:56 PM: The moderators field questions from the audience. The first asks what their biggest failures have been this year and how they will correct that next year.
Ulysses’ biggest failure last year, according to him, is that he hasn’t engage the students enough. He has passed a lot of resolutions, but he thinks the legislation could have been more relevant to students. This is what he is looking to change next year.
Breedon also thinks he failed in connecting to students. He doesn’t think he got to show enough people what SA is doing. His recent activities, however, are improvements in this failing.
Both candidates gave a typical politicians response.
5:59: Conversely, Breedon’s greatest strength is building strong bonds to students. In regards to Ulysses, he thinks that SA wont get one voice but rather a multitude of voices. Ulysses strength seems to be garnering a diverse voice on SA.
6:05 PM: Ulysses’s closing statement: Ulysses has great experience. He doesn’t deny Breedon’s character but claims to have been more productive in regards to his credentials. Ulysses claims that he puts students first and has a strong diverse group of allegiance. He is all about putting diversity first in the SA. Of course, he doesn’t like selling himself, which is probably a response to Breedon’s campaign.
Breedon’s closing statement: Breedon has more experience in representing people on the ground and representing people. Like Ulysses, he is here to represent a diverse group of people. Its not just about his platform but pushing the students initiatives. He wants to put initiatives that affect everyone. He wants you to believe in Breedon.