The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

SBP Candidates Emphasize Race at Masala Forum

About 25 students sat scattered throughout Peabody Hall's lecture room as candidates answered questions about issues such as raising funds for minority student groups, student empowerment and curriculum diversity.

Student body president candidate Warren Watts emphasized the need for more minority student input in student government. "The student body president must become more accessible to people on campus," he said.

He added that many students he has talked to want to get involved in student government but do not know how.

Watts also said student government will assist campus organizations in their fund-raising efforts.

Candidate Eric Johnson said he wants to institute a program of issue-based recruitment into student government. This program would allow individual students to work with student government on issues that are important to them.

Curriculum reform is another issue in which Johnson said he plans to be involved. He cited the upcoming retirement of many faculty members and the curriculum review as chances for change.

Candidate Justin Young said he feels that his experience as the only minority in certain campus organizations has prepared him for the task of fighting for minority rights. "I would like to talk about the issues of race and hit the issues of race head on," he said.

Young also would donate his $2,000 stipend to create a Student Empowerment Endowment, which will provide money for student groups and projects.

Candidate Annie Peirce said she would support minority representation in student government. She also said she consulted students before writing her platform. "Every single thing on my platform was given to me by you."

An optional donation of $1 will be added to each student's tuition fee to create a fund for student organizations, Peirce said. "If only half of UNC gives $1 in student fees voluntarily, that's $12,000."

Candidate Dustyn Baker has a campus multicultural center as one of her top priorities. She also endorses informing students on how they can become involved in student government. "Many students don't actually think they have a voice," she said.

Baker also said she wants to recruit a diverse body of professors for the 10 new professorships commissioned by the chancellor. "We came to UNC for diversity and to learn about other cultures."

Masala Co-president Azadeh Rezvani and Historian Aisha McGriff moderated the forum and both said they were pleased with the turnout. Rezvani said, "I think a lot of questions were asked that multicultural groups can benefit from."

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