Following the first test of his ability to think on his feet, Emilio Vicente received the Student Body President endorsement from the UNC Young Democrats.
Andrew Powell, Nikita Shamdasani and Winston Howes joined Vicente in Bingham Hall Monday night for the opening forum debate of the election season.
The candidates — who were asked questions that had been submitted by members of Young Democrats — discussed issues ranging from the UNC’s resources for minority students to the candidates’ views on the Chapel Hill Town Council.
Shamdasani continually brought up her website Neighborland as a means to get more diverse student feedback on the issues facing the community.
“We need to get more students involved with proposing ideas,” she said.
When asked about current Student Body President Christy Lambden’s administration, Shamdasani said he had been successful at advocating for a wide range of students.
She said if she were elected, she would want her government’s doings to be more transparent.
Vicente said he thought Lambden has been successful at having students in leadership positions on committees across campus. But he did say Lambden could have done a better job at listening to students.
Vicente has gained prominence as the leader of the leader of the One State, One Rate campaign, but does not want to run on his previous success.
“I am not a single-issue candidate because I do not live a single-issue life,” he said.
Powell said Lambden did the best he could by working within what he called a bloated and ineffective system. He said if he was elected, the position would mean more to him than a line on a resume.
“Student government will be solely about effectiveness,” Powell said.
He also raised concern about the way that sexual assault is being addressed.
He said Terri Phoenix, director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, raised an excellent point by saying the University should broaden its focus to include protection against gender-based violence.
Howes said his strength as student body president would come from using technology to bring together different factions on campus.
“By pulling everyone’s strengths together, you can deliver a strong final project,” he said.
Howes also proposed the idea of automating certain UNC services in order to save costs in the long run.
He specifically named Academic Advising as a department whose services could be streamlined using innovation.
“We’d like to cut costs where we can.”
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