Whitewater Student Government Election Debate

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Whitewater Student Government presidential elections are underway. Three candidates are campaigning for the position of president for the 2013-2014 school year. Justin Murphy, Connell Patterson III and Spencer Schoates, along with their running mates, participated in a debate on March 12 at the Univeristy Center Down Under.

The debate started with opening statements, then went into questions, where each candidate and their running mate had two minutes to answer. Questions were asked by students who attended the debate and were reviewed by at least two members of the election council before being submitted.

Opening Statements 

Spencer Schoates & Lauren Kats

Schoates: In my four and a half years here on campus, I’ve witnesses a lot of changes. Obviously there have been a lot of renovations, for instance when I got on campus in 2008, Starin Hall was a parking lot. One of the things that hasn’t changed, and I don’t anticipate it changing, is the sense of community, and how welcoming Whitewater has been to myself and other students alike. One of the things that makes Whitewater unique, and a special place to be, is how diverse and open the student body and faculty are. A major responsibility of the president and vice president of Whitewater Student Government is to be able to represent all of the students on campus. So with that in mind, Lauren Kats and myself, are very different in our experiences and the things we are involved in on campus, which is going to make us a very valuable team when representing all of the students on campus.

Kats: In representing the students some ways that are so different make us that much stronger. Spencer is a senior, I’m a freshman. He has these old ideas, he knows what works, he has experience, I’m a freshman, I’m bringing in new ideas and a newer generation. Not only that, Spencer is Greek and I am not, in that way, we encompass the entire campus of ideas, not having one take over the other. Also, obviously, Spencer is male, I am female, in that way, obviously we can have both opinions equally balanced. It just shows that in every way that Spencer and I lack, we make up for in each other, which makes us that much stronger of a team. And so I believe the diversity of us makes us a great representative of the students, which is what we want to be. We want to be strictly representatives working for you guys.

Justin Murphy & Dylan Waldhuetter

Murphy: I’d like to take this time to thank you guys for coming out tonight, hearing our ideas and giving us a chance to hear your ideas, to help make Whitewater the best campus possible. I’m going to tell you a little bit why we are the most qualified candidates up here to represent Whitewater. It comes down to experience. We have the most Whitewater Student Government experience. I am finishing up my directorship for student government, and I served as a senator last year, so I have two full years of experience. Dylan is finishing up his semester as a senator. So we know how Whitewater Student Government works. We understand parliamentary procedure, we understand the student standing rules, we understand the constitution, we eat live and breathe Whitewater Student Government. And our leadership experience does not end there. We are involved in organizations across this campus, a wide variety of them. Those organizations include Student Health Advisory Committee, Student Chamber of Commerce, Water Council, Dean’s Advisory Council, and we want to take the leadership skills that we have attained there, and apply them at the highest level of leadership you can get at this university, and that level is Whitewater Student Government. We have the administrative relations in place and the connections with the community to not only make our ideas attainable, but we’ve already started working on some of those ideas.

Waldhuetter: Anyone can come up here tonight and talk about how the food is no good or how they’re frustrated with parking. These aren’t new ideas, these are ideas that administration after administration has been working on, and administration after administration will continue to work on. And if there is one thing I can promise you tonight, is that if that is something you have an issue with, we will work harder than anyone else in this room to make sure that you are satisfied. We will exhaust all options in making sure that every last thing that can be done has been attempted. We’re here more to talk about some new ideas. We have some platforms that we’ve already been working on, we’ve talked to administration about those platforms, which include sustainability, campus involvement, organization to organization collaboration, and most importantly, uniting Whitewater Student Government with its constituents. That’s why we’re here, that’s what this is all about. And it’s not always an easy thing to do, but we want to put forward the effort to make sure we achieve that.

Murphy: This is what it all comes down to, we’re here representing you, we want to be the extension of your voice. That’s the beautiful thing about democracy, people, is that the ideas come from the body. And we want to be on the top to take action for you. That being said, God Bless America, and God Bless Whitewater.

Connell Patterson III & LaCherie Weathers

Weathers: Hello everyone, again my name is LaCherie Weathers. Some of the things I am involved here on campus are Wheels to Whitewater student panel, Sister to Sister, Black Student Union, as well as ministries and Bible studies. My purpose here, today, to serve as vice president alongside Mr. Patterson, is to make sure I take the initiative to make sure the voices of the most important people here on campus, which are the students, are heard. So with that being said, to do so, we will use diversity and take action in the community to make sure that we make a change.

Patterson: Hello everybody, my name is Connell. My inspiration to run for Whitewater Student Government began in spring of 2011 when I first got involved with Whitewater Student Government. Since that time I have been involved with Whitewater Student Government, and I have watched three presidents successfully do there term, and I recognize and learned some of the things that can help me take action and lead the Whitewater Student Government. One of the things I believe in is campus diversity and campus unity. Those are some of the main points because I believe that this campus may be diversified, but it can be a lot more diversified and the student government mainly should be, and also unifying the student body. I believe unifying the student body will help because gaining the input of all racial bacjrounds and ethnic groups of students around campus will allow the students to function better. I believe that if we utilize the student government and deeply work with all organizations on campus that help the students out, we can better help serve the student body. I believe that me and Miss Weathers here are the best candidates for a president and vice president because we believe in these goals, not in a way of just doing them, but we passioanetly believe in following these goals. We are here as ourselves, we are not here as Greeks, we are here as students who believe that we can make a change if elected. So I hope you all believe in us and take the opportunity to vote CP3 and LC.

 

Question: If elected as president and vice president, what will be your first order of business?

Murphy & Waldhuetter

“I think ever organizations voice needs to be heard,” Murphy said. Murphy and Waldhuetter said if elected, the will create and send out surveys to student organizations to see what changes they would like to see on campus, and see how they can execute those changes.

Patterson & Weathers

“Our first order of business would be diversity,” Patterson said. If elected, Patterson and Weathers can choose who will be on the executive board of WSG and will focus on creating a diverse board.

Schoate & Kats

“Obviously tuition is a hot topic every year,” Schoate said. Schoate said the issue of tuition rising is not up to WSG, but that he would like to make sure more of the money in student segregated fees is being allocated back to students.

 

What experiences have prepared you for this position if elected?

Patterson III & Weathers

Patterson said his experience on WSG and as a student has given his the experience he needs to hold the position of president. He also said that by speaking with the last three WSG presidents, he recognizes qualities in himself that made former presidents successful.

Weathers said although she has never been part of WSG, her time as a student for three academic years has allowed her to get to know the student body and know the changes students want to see.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said his leadership positions and involvement on campus since his freshman year has prepared him to be WSG president. Some of these positions include Resident Assistant, a member of the Greek community and a Diversity Advocate. Schoate said his time on WSG and as an executive board member has also prepared him to hold the position of president.

Kats said although she is a freshman, she already holds leadership positions such as Deputy Speaker of WSG and a member of LIT.

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said being a member of multiple student organizations and executive boards and chair of the Student Chamber of Commerce has prepared him to hold the highest leadership position on campus and communicate to the community. Murphy said being a part of WSG for two years has given him the experience to know the inner-workings of the organization.

Waldhuetter said he is also involved in many student organizations and the Greek community, so that helps him related to students of all ages.

 

If United Council came and pushed Whitewater to join, what would be your reaction?

As Schoate explained, United Council is, simplest terms, “a governing body that governs governing bodies.”

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said he would decline United Council because he believes it is not needed at the university because we do things a certain way and they work.

Kats said she would reject United Council because it would raise tuition $3, which she said when taken from thousands of students, “that is a ton of money for a group that we don’t really need.”

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Waldhuetter said he would decline United Council because while other universities may benefit from the group, WSG is successful on its own.

Murphy added that the university does a better job without an outside group such as United Council.

Patterson III & Weathers

Patterson agreed that he would decline United Council because WSG and UW-Whitewater is strong enough to stand without outside help. He said that the student government is a strong and unique organization, and it would be an insult to accept outside help.

 

What is your biggest personal hurdle you will have to overcome if elected into office?

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said if he elected, he will have to prioritize his commitments. He said WSG takes priority, and he would step down from other leadership roles to fulfill his obligations as president if elected.

Waldhuetter answered similarly, that he will have to step down from other positions in order to be completely committed to WSG.

Patterson III & Weathers

Patterson said belief in himself will be his biggest hurdle to overcome. He said his lack of involvement made him question if he was fit for the position of WSG president, but he said his drive, ambition and motivation make him a good candidate.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said as a student leader, he would have to prioritize his commitments with campus involvement and involvement with the Whitewater Fire Dept. He said all of his commitments have given him positive experience, but WSG would take priority if elected.

Kats said out of all of her campus commitments, WSG is her favorite, and if elected, she would have to step down from other positions.

 

What is your position on a campus-wide smoking ban?

Patterson & Weathers

Patterson said smoking is a personal choice and to take that away is taking away student’s freedom. Instead, he would like to use resources to increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking.

Weathers said as long as there are places where students respect as a no-smoking area, to take it away completely would be unfair to certain students.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said it is not WSG’s place to tell people not to smoke, and while there are benefits to a smoke-free campus, it would make students who do smoke have a less enjoyable time at UW-Whitewater.

Kats also said it is not the government’s place to tell people not to smoke. She said the job of WSG is to make the campus as comfortable for everyone, and to take away smoking would be to neglect the people on campus who do smoke.

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Waldhuetter said there is currently a tobacco-free coalition on campus, and if they were to present a valid argument that would benefit the majority of students, he would be in favor of a smoking ban.

Murphy said if enough students brought it to his attention as president, he would be in favor of a smoking ban, because it is not just about people who smoke, but also about people who do not. Murphy said either way, there needs to be more information about smoking on campus and more resources for people who do smoke.

 

Do you support differential tuition?

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said he would support differential tuition if elected. Schoate explained that differential tuition is used to build multi-level advising programs, first year experience, and new student seminar programs, which would all benefit campus and students.

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said if differential tuition was able to freeze the 5.5 percent tuition increase for two consecutive years, it would be “phenomenal.” It would also open opportunities for funding for new programs on campus.

Patterson & Weathers

Patterson he would be in support because it would promote improving student education.

 

What projects to promote sustainability on campus do you wish to be put in place?

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Waldhuetter said there are many different ideas he and Murphy have to improve sustainability, which include creating a campus garden, which would give options for fresh food for Chartwells and a chance for a student-run farmers market. He said he would like to promote sustainability in the curriculum on campus.

Murphy said he would like to look into wind turbines for campus because they would be cost beneficial.

Patterson & Weathers

Weathers said she would like to look in to solar panels for multiple buildings.

Patterson said more efficient automatic hand dryers, like the ones in Hyland Hall, and automatic faucets in residence hall bathrooms are ways to increase sustainability on campus that he will promote if elected.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said if elected, he will promote recycling and plastic bag collection, as well as increase awareness of sustainability on campus.

Kats said she has been thinking of ways to create energy, such as running on a treadmill. She said installing more water fountains that refill water bottles would save the waste of plastic bottles.

 

You all mention various leadership positions you have held, but how much value do you place on personal integrity and character?

Patterson & Weathers

Patterson said by making the decision to step down from certain positions when he knew he was becoming overwhelmed showed his responsibility and integrity. He said he was once removed from WSG due to a lack of understanding and ambition, but once he realized the importance of being on student government, he held himself in high standards in order to get back onto WSG and run for president.

Weathers said she holds personal integrity very high for herself. She said she holds her education and peers to high standards, which helps with her personal integrity.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said one of the most important parts of being a leader means promoting empowerment and integrity among people you work with and work for. Schoate said his personal philosophy is to “do better than I did yesterday.” He said personal integrity is the most important quality a leader should have.

Kats said she was raised that if she can’t give something 100 percent, she should not do it. Kats said she has not joined the Greek community because she knows she doesn’t have time for it, and so would rather not join if she cannot put her best effort into it.

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said he sees integrity as “acting as if your Mom & Dad are next to at all times.” He said he has been in situations where he could have made many different choices, but he always came to the right conclusion, and that is how he would lead WSG.

Waldhuetter defined integrity as following through on the things you are going to do, and that is how he will lead WSG.

 

How will you actively seek out student issues and concerns?

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said by reaching out to community and campus organizations and programs and getting direct feedback from people will be important to him.

Kats said by regularly attending organization meetings will be a way for her to make connections with many different people and bring their ideas back to WSG. Kats said she has already been doing this and it has been an effective way to reach out to the student body.

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said if elected, he will immediately give out surveys to campus organizations and get feedback. He said he would also like to work with the public relations director to post the issues that WSG is discussing every week for students to be aware, create a visible suggestions box outside the WSG office for anyone to provide concerns or comments.

Waldhuetter said he and Murphy have discusses having senators sit on all of the Deans Advisory Councils of all colleges to build connections all over campus.

Patterson & Weathers

Patterson said he thinks the only time students and organizations hear about WSG is during elections, and that is not the way it should be. He said if he is elected, he will diversify his executive board by appointing students from many different campus organizations. Patterson said he would also like to hold events so people do not think they are only about politics.

Weathers said visiting organizations as well as spending time with them and attending their events will assure students that their voices are being heard.

 

What current programs in WSG will you continue to promote?

Murphy & Waldhuetter

Murphy said he would promote the Student Chamber of Commerce and thinks it will set a standard for universities across the world. He said he would also promote the free lawyer offered to students.

Waldhuetter said WSG’s greatest benefit is reaching out to the student body, and he thinks educating students on what goes on at WSG and how they can be part of it is important.

Patterson & Weathers

Patterson the best service WSG has to offer is the opportunity for students to be heard. He would like to promote the fact that WSG’s purpose is to serve students.

Schoate & Kats

Schoate said he believes one of the services that WSG offers that students overlook is the free lawyer that can offer legal advice. He said the new Student Savers Club is also something that is very beneficial to students by offering discounts at local businesses, which will benefit students and the Whitewater economy.

Kats said the student Chamber of Commerce is one of the most outgoing organizations for starting student entrepreneurs.