AS Election Forum and Debate (Part 1)
Part ONE of the Associated Students Election Forum and Debate. To see the second part, click here.
As the sun beat down on the Santa Monica College clocktower, 25 nervous candidates stood in anticipation of their 90 seconds in the spotlight. Ninety seconds to introduce themselves. Ninety seconds to tell 200 strangers who they were and why those strangers should put them in charge of the student government of one of the most revered community colleges in the country.
One by one they stepped to the podium and spoke, spilling their guts and their passion throughout the SMC clock tower quad. They squeezed everything they have ever learned about persuasion and public speaking into this small window of time which represented just one small stepping stone in their quest to the Associated Students Board of Directors.
Last Thursday marked the AS Forum and Debates, hosted for the first time ever by The Corsair. Candidates running for the 13 available positions in AS addressed the student body, while the candidates for Student Trustee, vice president and president were given more time to expand on their platforms when they engaged in debates moderated by Corsair News Editor Adam Thomas and Community College Association for Student Advocacy (CCASA) CFO Filipp Krasovsky.
With the campaign period spanning a minuscule one week, opportunities for student voters to really get to know candidates can be scarce, so those who were interested utilized the occasion to gather around and hear what the candidates had to say.
“I want to hear what they’re going to say because I don’t want to base my vote off of their posters,” said attendee and president of the Programming Club Ian Sikes.
Even candidates running unopposed, such as Director of Activities candidate Jeannie Joo and Director of Student Outreach candidate Rashisul Haque, took the chance to introduce themselves to the voters.
After the series of speeches, the debates began. The aspiring student governors were forced to put their ideas to the test when they were faced with difficult questions from the moderators. This led to some chippiness, especially between the presidential candidates, which bothered some of the attendees.
“The presidential debate got pretty heated,” Sikes said. “I wish that they were more talking about their own ideas and their own platforms.”
Biology major Maggie Skoryna, who was unhappy with the candidates’ emphasis on race, said, “I felt like it wasn’t as productive as it should have been... I thought it could’ve brought people together and it seemed like it was creating a little more segregation.”
Aside from the minor verbal skirmishes, students appreciated the messages that were being delivered by the candidates.
President of the Homeboys and Homegirls Club Edgar Gonzalez, when asked what stuck out to him, said, “The unity of the people, even though they were debating different things, everyone has one main point and that’s to represent the students and make change.”
The students will now be able to take a little more information with them to the voting areas at the Main Campus library and cafeteria, or online on Corsair Connect where they will be able to choose their favorite candidates until voting closes Thursday, April 7 at 4 p.m.
This video features the beginning of the Forum where candidates from Director of Activities to Director of Budget Management are allowed 90 seconds to project their qualifications and hopes to receive your vote.
The Associated Students held its annual Electoral Forum and Debate in the Clock Tower Quad with the Corsair as it's Host on Thursday, March 31st 2016,
Members of Production : -Host Nik Lucaj -Moderators Adam Robert Thomas Filipp Krasovsky -Executive Producer Alexander Melendez -Associate Producers Ida Nyberg Jenny Bejedal -Director Christopher Menjivar -Technical director Wen-Chun Yeh -Audio technician Andrey Bailey -Floor director Kenza Tazi -Camera Operators Jose Mascorro Drew Stanford Ethan Chuang -Graphics William Miguel -Editor Alexander Melendez