Last words

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Standing before a small group mostly composed of Sigma Chis and Chi Omegas, the ASUU elections finalists reiterated their platform ideas in the last debate before the general elections.

The debate, which featured FUSE Party candidates Spencer Pearson, Basim Motiwala and Nicole Nguyen; Forward Party candidates Rick Pehrson, Clayton McDonald and Brittany Bell and More 4 U’s Megan Maxfield, was held at the James Fletcher Biology Building across from Greek Row Monday night.

Despite the proximity to the Greek Row sorority and fraternity houses, only a small portion of the greeks were represented, with most showing support for FUSE. Both Pearson and Motiwala are members of Sigma Chi.

“I wish there were more houses than Sigs and Chi O’s,” said Associated Students of the University of Utah Elections Registrar Lorraine Evans. “It made it feel like a very one-sided debate.”

Candidates were fielded questions about Greek Row, including what they would do to better represent the houses and mediate conflicts. Pearson and Motiwala said their connections in Greek Row add to their credibility in understanding the issues facing greeks.

Pehrson said that because he and McDonald have not been involved in the greek system, he can mediate better with greeks, administration and city officials, calling it his lack of affiliation a “great advantage.”

Forward said it would also bring back the inter-chapter football league for greeks and invite greek leadership members to participate in executive cabinet decisions.

FUSE said it would increase greek communication with campus, especially with philanthropy projects.

“Too often we get negative stereotypes as boys that drink and girls that go out all night — we need to have a positive attitude and positive representation,” said FUSE vice presidential candidate Basim Motiwala.

Due to the U’s recent legislative successes lobbying for the Student Life Center and the nursing building renovation, candidates were asked what their legislative agendas would be if elected.

Both parties agreed that they would push for lower tuition and tuition freezes. Forward said it would also push for student fee audits. FUSE said it would lobby for updated buildings on campus and encourage students to express their views to representatives.

Both Pehrson and McDonald have had experience lobbying on the hill. With regards to a tuition freeze, Pehrson said, “This is something we would not be able to promise, because we can’t promise we will fulfill it.”

Sandwiched between their male counterparts were the three female senior class president candidates. Although this position has been typically female for the last ten years, this year’s candidates said they do not feel belittled by that trend.

Calling herself “a force to be reckoned with,” Forward’s Brittany Bell said the position would be difficult even for a man. Likewise, FUSE’s Nicole Nguyen said that gender aside, she is a qualified candidate.

“I don’t feel underprivileged or put down in any way,” Maxfield said. Although More 4 U’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates Joe Coccimiglio and Craig Hammond did not win the primaries, Maxfield will continue to represent her party in the general elections.

Since this was the last debate before elections, candidates were allowed a rebuttal for each question. For most questions, candidates did not take the opportunity to rebut the other party’s answer.

All senior class candidates expressed their intentions to work with the Alumni Association to promote Homecoming throughout the entire campus.

In regard to the ASUU’s Presenter’s Office and the Union Programming Council, both FUSE and Forward recognized that UPC should get more funding than other parties to fund events like Crimson Nights. They said they would work with the councils to determine budget needs.

Parties did use their chances to rebut when asked what sets their party apart from the other. The Forward Party said it will fix problems internally first before helping everyone else.

“Our ideology is the importance of cleaning up ASUU internally and not just ignoring problems with new ideas,” McDonald said.

The FUSE Party emphasized its focus on representing the student’s wants and needs, noting that the party created its platform based on the survey results of 500 students. FUSE’s platform focuses on academic advising, campus communication and ASUU accountability. The Forward Party said it spoke face to face with about 300 students.

“They’ve told us what they’d like and we will work hard to bring that to each student,” Pearson said.

Voting began today at 7 a.m. and ends tomorrow at 10 p.m.

Christopher Peddecord