ASCWU virtual debates kick off general election

Sean Bessette, Assistant News Editor

The first of two ASCWU virtual debates took place last Wednesday night over a Zoom webinar.

The positions of president, executive vice president, director of Governmental Affairs and senate speaker are unopposed and only have one candidate.

Director of Equity & Multicultural Affairs and director of Student Life & Facilities both have two candidates in the general election.

The lack of competition for some of the positions didn’t stop the debates from carrying on as planned.

Each candidate had a minute to give an opening introduction. Following the introductions, two rounds of questions prepared by the elections commission took place. Each candidate was asked one question per round and had three minutes to answer each question. 

The debate ended with 10 minutes of an open Q&A session. If a candidate wanted a rebuttal, they’d have the opportunity to do so. The debate took place for an hour, and nobody asked for a rebuttal once.

Common themes among the questions asked included resources equity, representation for students who the candidates don’t personally identify with and fall 2021 reopening. 

Geoffrey Odoch, executive vice president candidate, said during the debate, “My premise of running for this position is on the idea of accessibility, equity and then accountability. This is because we need equitable resource distribution and accessibility to resources.

Multiple candidates stressed optimism and excitement for more in-person activities in the fall. 

“We’re hoping that everything will be in full gear this coming fall,” Syafiq Mohd Suhaimi, one of the candidates vying for the director of Student Life & Facilities position, said.

Presidential candidate Madeline Koval will be the first president that isn’t a person of color in the past five years. During the Q&A session, she was asked how she plans to continue the work former presidents have done to keep underrepresented voices engaged in student government.

“I think this is important to discuss because I want to make sure that I’m respecting the space and acknowledging my own white privilege and using that for good,” Koval said.

Additionally, Koval said she wants to make sure the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) is still in production.

“I want to work towards to make sure that momentum does not slow on that project because we really need this project [CCI],” Koval said. 

According to an Observer article published in Oct. 2020, ASCWU wants to turn the Old Heat building next to Munson Hall into the CCI. The article states the planned start for reconstruction depends on funding but is projected to start fall 2021.

The second and final ASCWU virtual debate will take place tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Students are encouraged to register to attend and can do so at