Primary voting begins today on OrgSync for the 2013 UGBC Presidential and Vice Presidential elections, and after voting ends tomorrow, one ticket will be eliminated from the running.
The three teams-Tim Koch, A&S ’14, and Chris “Trugs” Truglio, CSOM ’14; Molly McCathy and Ricky Knapp, both A&S ’14; and Matt Nacier and Matt Alonsozana, both A&S ’14-have been focusing on spreading their platforms to the student body throughout the last week. All teams have been holding dorm walks, attending on-campus events, and utilizing social media to spread their names.
Campaigning since last Wednesday’s official debate has not been smooth sailing, however. Disparity sprang up around a second, town hall-style UGBC debate, originally planned for last Thursday, Mar. 21. Bellarmine Law Society, along with other Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), intended to host a second debate to focus on the teams’ specific policy proposals and plans for RSOs. “Due to UGBC’s new Constitution, we are specifically interested in the plans these teams have for the Vice President,” said Bellarmine representative and senator Chris Marchese, A&S ’15, in an email that he sent out with co-representative Bryan White, A&S ’15.
A few days before the debate was scheduled, however, White informed The Heights that the McCarthy-Knapp and Koch-Truglio tickets had both declined to participate, and the debate had thus been cancelled. He said that both teams said that they were focusing more on campaigning in dormitories. “We feel that while dorm walks are an important aspect of the campaign, RSOs play a central role in both the election and in UGBC,” White said in an email. “We tried to compromise with the two teams: we offered to change the event to be a vice president debate only.” According to White, the McCarthy-Knapp and the Koch-Truglio teams declined to participate in a vice presidential debate-which would have been between Alonsozana, Knapp, and Truglio-as well.
“We received an invitation to participate in the event hosted by the Bellarmine Law Society; however, given the timeframe and the circumstances … we decided to spend our time in a more interactive capacity with the student body,” Koch and Truglio said in an email. They continued on to detail the ways in which their ticket would address RSOs’ concerns if elected. “Student Organization (SO) funding is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed,” they said. “A streamlined funding process needs to be developed by SOFC, the Student Assembly, the Vice President of Student Organizations, and the Vice President of Financial Affairs in order to do so … Another change we hope to implement is the creation of an ad hoc committee in the Student Assembly that will work with the Vice President of Student Affairs in collaboration with SOFC to allocate the Student Activities Fee in a more fiscally responsible way and in a manner [that] reflects students’ interests. One of the goals of this committee will be to advocate for greater funding of student organizations.”
McCarthy and Knapp responded as well, stating that, after discussions with the Bellarmine Society, they came to believe that the subject matter of the debate would be focused more on the new UGBC structure than on RSOs. “We anticipated these questions would be addressed in the EC sponsored debate (and I think it’s important to note that both example questions with which we were provided were) and therefore decided that since there is only a limited campaign period this year, it was important to reach out to the student population that is not as engaged in the UGBC election process,” they said. “We made sure to ask questions before making a decision, but after realistically evaluating the situation, we determined that dorm walking, attending club meetings, and speaking at events would result in more informed voters than attending the debate.”
In addition, the McCarthy-Knapp and Koch-Truglio campaigns addressed their reasons for not attending the Bellarmine debate in a joint letter. The letter reiterated the teams’ separate reasons for not attending. “This second debate was scheduled to be moderated by the Bellarmine Law Society, not the nonpartisan Elections Committee,” read the letter, which was signed by all four candidates. “While we are confident in the professionalism and sincerity of the Law Society, the heavy involvement of some other campaigns in the formation of the event and its questions gave us pause. We were eventually assuaged of all concerns by the leadership of the Law Society, but it did initially inspire hesitation in both campaigns in the legitimacy of an impromptu debate.
“Ultimately, we decided to use what limited time we have to engage with those who are less involved. It is our hope that by reaching out to these students, we can foster an awareness of the important issues that affect all members of the BC community.
“Again, we thank the Bellarmine Law Society for the invitation. We all agree that had the timing been different, we would have jumped on such a wonderful opportunity. We hope that the Law Society continues this tradition in the years to come, to ensure that all candidates are qualified to represent the diverse interests of Boston College students.”
The Nacier-Alonsozana team expressed their continuing focus on RSO issues. “We were very disappointed that the Bellarmine Society had to cancel the RSO debate last Thursday,” Alonsozana said in an email. “Matt and I firmly believe that UGBC will be much better when working together with RSOs especially in regards to programming and outreach.”
The debate is not the only challenge that teams have faced. All three of the teams had hung banners in the Academic Quad-on Friday night, however, the banners were vandalized. In addition, due to a lack of clarification between the Elections Committee and ResLife, there was an unintentional 24-hour ban on dorm walks. “The issue has since been resolved,” said Carter Bielen, co-chair of the UGBC Elections Committee and A&S ’13, in an email. “The candidates are allowed to campaign between 9 [a.m.] and 9 [p.m.] in the residence halls.” Bielen added that no team has incurred sanctions thus far.