On March 12, candidates for the student government positions of president and executive vice president squared off in “The Great Debate” at the copper room of the SLCC Taylorsville Redwood Student Center.
Current student body president Aaron Starks moderated the event. The first question presented to presidential candidates Jessica Fowler and Casey Nelson asked what the candidates would do on state level as sole representative of the student body.
Students can vote at any of the polls located on campus or online at vote.slcc.edu
Nelson started by stating that his goal was to bring awareness of student issues to a state level and letting state representatives know how meaningful a higher education is to the student body.
Fowler responded by stating that she would prefer to talk to students on a personal level to better represent the student body when speaking to the deans.
The presidential candidates shared alternate views on how to make school more affordable
“I would like to look into [low attendance] activities and possibly cut them to take that money and put it towards scholarships,” said Fowler.
Nelson suggested an increase in the money we receive from book buyback to counteract the cost of text books.
“By doing that we help counteract the rise of the tuition that happens every year; we’re constantly being bombarded by higher tuition,” commented Nelson.
When asked about the Utah Student Association and what the candidates would do at a state level, Fowler commented that she would like to collaborate with other colleges in order to share ideas and help raise the Utah graduation rate.
Nelson shared a similar response, but added that he would also like to see SLCC become a model for higher education.
When asked about Education First Fowler mentioned that the previous year SLCC reached many of the goals it set and would like to do more. Nelson wants to help the Education First program become bigger.
Fowler and Nelson also answered similarly when asked about cutting clubs. Neither of the candidates sees any benefit in cutting the programs.
Nelson said that he would like to consolidate events with low attendance into bigger and better events, and Fowler stated that if she would have to cut one, she would start with the events that have the lowest attendance.
Candidates were given a chance to give a closing statement that best embodies the change and vision they want to implement
Fowler said she would like to work closer with the clubs and activities, as well as enhance the student experience.
“I want to make it a focus to make you aware of all your benefits so that way your college experience can be the best here at Salt Lake Community College,” said Fowler.
“As president I would bring experience, and passion to get these things changed,” Said Nelson. “I would love to see student fees consolidated to use on more scholarships.”
Executive vice presidential candidates are the incumbent executive vice president Carlos Artiles and Becca Starks.
Artiles’ platform was focused on following through on projects he has worked on in his first year serving as Executive V.P.
“I think I’ll be able to finish some of the things that the student senate has this year,” said Artiles. “We’ve started talking to the deans and the bookstore on how to lower textbook prices, but it usually takes two years to do it.”
Candidate Starks said that her platform was based on communicating with the students and bringing awareness of student issues and fixing them.
“While in office I want to create a more inclusive institution and build relationships with the clubs and the deans,” said Starks, “the most important thing to me is making sure students get their voices heard.”
The debate turned to specifics as the subject of smoking on campus was brought up
“I’m against banning smoking,” said Artiles. “We can work on other ideas before banning it.”
Starks agreed with Artiles’ position, and suggested some alternatives that represented her platform of student communication.
The main thing we can do is just make sure that we get that survey out and follow what it says,” said Starks. “I just think it’s important that everybody answer these surveys so that we know how to better represent you guys.”
Both candidates also agreed on the subject of extending fall break to match the length of spring break. They said that the current length was fine, but if the students want fall break to be longer, then they would listen.
Opinions differed when candidates were asked about their experience with a budget.
Artiles’ stand was that the senate is exceptionally frugal with the budget, but that he would find a way to reduce how much was being used.
Starks argued that she would try to cut out the less attended events and move that money towards book scholarships and awards for good grades.