Student body president candidates Ian Lee and Rick Ingram were endorsed Monday by UNC’s College Republicans and Young Democrats, respectively, after taking part in back-to-back forums.
The candidates — Lee, Ingram, Mary Cooper and Brooklyn Stephens — fielded questions from members of each club and then from the public.
Each organization voted on an official endorsement.
Candidates discussed issues ranging from student fees to campus safety. Each candidate received the opportunity to discuss their platforms as well.
At the College Republicans forum, the discussion revolved around the issue of student fees. All candidates supported a version of a student fee audit.
Lee said fees should be broken up into line items so that students can better understand how those fees are allocated.
“We need to add transparency to the process,” he said.
Candidates were asked how they would work with the administration during the brief window to determine tuition for the next year.
“This is where experience is key,” Lee said. “You need to immediately start speaking with administrators. If you know the process, you can call them out on that process.”
Ingram said student fees have never been the major priority of an administration, but that would change if he were elected.
“I can do a lot in six months if you give me the opportunity,” he said.
On the issue of campus safety, candidates argued about the efficiency of certain programs on campus.
Stephens said she thinks some programs could be cut but that publicizing them would also increase their efficiency.
Ingram pointed to the fact that only an average of 40 students use SafeWalk nightly.
“Is this making us safer?” Ingram said. “There are definitely some programs to be looked at.”
Cooper said she wouldn’t cut any safety programs.
“If one person’s life is saved, that fee is absolutely worth it,” Cooper said.
Anthony Dent, chairman of the College Republicans, said the organization endorsed Lee because of his consistent position on student fees.
“Some members felt he was a more honest worker,” Dent said.
The Young Democrats forum focused on issues such as civic participation and awareness.
When asked about the current student health care plan that allows students to opt out of abortion coverage, all agreed with the current plan except Ingram.
“Everyone needs to have the right,” he said. “I don’t think they should be able to opt out.”
Candidates also cited their experience with political participation.
Lee, Ingram and Cooper said they had lobbying experience with legislative bodies while Stephens said she would be new to the process but ready to work.
A spokesman for the Young Democrats said the group endorsed Ingram because of his history with the organization and the belief that he will work diligently to achieve his platform goals.
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