Student Senate candidates debate campus issues before election

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On Tuesday at 5 p.m., students congregated on the first floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center to listen to and participate in a debate among Student Senate candidates.

Presidential candidates Carlton Adams, J.B. Stockslager, Anna Norkett and Chase Harker, vice presidential candidate Connor Volz, secretary candidates Whitney Babin and James Jang, and graduate affairs officer candidate Sarah-Michelle Stearns sat on stage. The moderator was Dr. Ben Both, Director of Debate, Advisor to the Bush Institute and Associate Professor.

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Photo credit: Ryan Miller

The debate was divided into three parts.

Students provided a concise, two-minute introduction of their platform before engaging in the debate. Questions written by the other contenders directed to specific candidates were selected and read by the moderator.

Each presidential candidate received two questions, while candidates for vice president, secretary and graduate affairs officer each received one. Afterward, the debate expanded to open-floor where viewers could ask their own questions until 6:30 p.m. when the discussion was concluded.

Some common questions candidates wrote to one another pertained to inclusivity of all students on campus, notability of candidates and the sincerity of candidates’ platform ideas.

One question was raised by Elliott Bouillion, the 2014-2015 Student Senate Speaker. Bouillion asked each candidate to convince the audience why they should vote for them in just one sentence.

The responses are as follows:

Carlton Adams:

“The definition of being Student Body President in my mind is being a true liaison to every single person on campus and the administration.”

J.B. Stocksalger:


“I am passionate about this school and the student body and I will do whatever it takes to make sure they are heard and that their concerns are being met.”

Anna Norkett:

“Everything I stand for about community and inclusivity is not for a campaign, it’s just who I am.”

Chase Harker:

“I will be the most bold president you’ve ever seen. I will create opportunities that you never imagined. That SMU will be more on the map than ever before.”

Connor Volz:

“This is actually a poster of our student senate. It reads ‘leadership and action, not position.’ And I, along with every candidate wants to see action displayed on campus.”

Whitney Babin:

“To re-ignite the passion and spirit we had from our first day from being Mustangs. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

James Jang:

“I just want every Mustang to be valued.”

Note: Candidate Sarah-Michelle Stearns did not make a statement. The debate interfered with Stearns’ class schedule resulting in an early departure.

Polling for the 2015-2016 Student Senate begins April 1 at smu.edu/elections.

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