The candidates for Student Assembly president and vice president appeared last night in a public forum that, much like the discussion at Collis Cafe on Tuesday night, lacked contentious debate.
About 20 students attended the forum, which was hosted by La Alianza Latina in the Zimmerman Lounge in the Blunt Alumni Center.
While most of the candidates primarily reiterated their platforms as presented in Tuesday’s debate and responded to individual concerns of those in attendance, the most noticeable difference was a slight change in the stance of Scott Jacobs ’99 and the addition of presidential write-in candidate Kathy Kim ’00 to the forum.
The debate, moderated by La Alianza president James Gallo ’99, was attended by Assembly presidential candidates Frode Eilersten ’99, Jacobs, Kim and Unai Montes-Irueste ’98 and vice presidential candidates Dave Altman ’99 and Nahoko Kawayku ’99. Vice presidential write-in candidate Ben Oren ’99 was out of town.
Kim, speaking for the first time as a presidential candidate, said her platform is “about activism.”
She described herself as “very confrontational, very in your face” and said she and running-mate Oren, if elected, will set goals to effect quick change.
“We need faster-paced lifestyles here,” she said.
The pair’s lack of experience in the Assembly is actually an advantage, Kim said, since they will be attempting to lead the Assembly in a “whole new direction.”
Jacobs admitted to the crowd that he “made a mistake” and had been “thinking of the campaign all wrong.” Although his campaign slogan was originally to “Give volume to your voice,” Jacobs said he has since realized that “the idea of being able to speak for someone else is wrong.”
Jacobs said if elected, his job as Assembly president will be to give students with important issues the “time, place, opportunity, and respect to speak their voice.”
While he said he himself cannot speak for others, Jacobs wants to “actively seek them [out] to represent themselves.”
Vice presidential candidate Altman said he perceives a lack of student empowerment to be the greatest problem at the College. He said if elected, he plans to make general improvements within the Assembly as well as re-organize how the group interacts with other student organizations.
Kawakyu said she thinks the purpose of the Assembly vice president is to give people the opportunity to keep the lines of communication open so they are able to discuss important issues.
“There is so much energy on this campus,” she said. “If people do it all together or somehow coordinate, we can do something really big.”
Presidential candidate Montes-Irueste said everything he does is “tempered with wisdom” of past experience. He said his beliefs have not changed during his years at the College, but he has learned more effective ways of implementing them.
Montes-Irueste said he thinks the Assembly encounters difficulties in accomplishing goals because it keeps trying to “reinvent the wheel.”
“If they cannot solve those problems they should dissolve themselves,” he said.
Eilersten said he is struck by the lack of influence students have on this campus.
If he is elected, Eilertsen said one of his goals is to provide a more informal forum where student groups can effectively communicate with one another and develop solutions to campus problems, he said.
One member of the audience asked each of the presidential candidates to describe their purpose in the Assembly race in one word. The answers demonstrated most clearly the differences between candidates.
“Excitement,” Kim said.
“Passion,” Jacobs replied.
“Justice,” was Montes-Irueste’s response.
“Democracy,” Eilersten said.