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Friday August 12th

SBP candidates face off in first debate

Wilson Sink (left) and John Taylor participate in the Student Body President debate hosted by Student Congress Tuesday evening. Bradley Opere was present, however could not participate.
Buy Photos Wilson Sink (left) and John Taylor participate in the Student Body President debate hosted by Student Congress Tuesday evening. Bradley Opere was present, however could not participate.

Sink and Taylor were the only candidates in the debate because a third candidate, Bradley Opere, is still trying to get enough signatures on his petition. He has a 24-hour extension on the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

In his opening statement, Taylor said he understands economic hardship after growing up in Albemarle.

“I see this as an opportunity to really help the people of my state,” Taylor said.

Sink said UNC is his home, and he is running to help make it home to all students.

“There are problems with this University, there are problems with the state. But the problems are not insurmountable,” he said.

Candidates’ qualifications

Taylor said his isolated existence as a child — he grew up in a log cabin and moved to Chapel Hill in middle school — provided him with a unique understanding of the problems faced by citizens of different backgrounds in North Carolina.

Sink said his experiences in student government committees, Musical Empowerment and other groups qualify him to bring students together on campus.

“I have feet in all these organizations, including Greek life, student government, academics, Young Democrats, and I’ve even lived with College Republicans,” Sink said. “It’s okay.”

Student government

When asked about student government’s role over its independent agencies, both candidates said more oversight was not the answer. Taylor said, as president, he wants to help Student Congress become more of a presence in students’ day-to-day lives.

The two were asked about previous experience with student government.

“I have no experience with student government whatsoever,” Taylor said. “But I think that because of this, I understand the problems that a lot of students have with understanding student government.”

Sink said he was frustrated in his first year with the lack of progress being made when he worked in student government, but since then, he’s recognized the ability to take action and wants to build on it.

UNC in a broader context

The candidates were questioned about their opinion on whether undocumented students from North Carolina should get in-state tuition. Taylor said this was an issue requiring compassion and Sink answered with the shortest response of the night.

“If you live in North Carolina, if you call North Carolina home, if your family works here, if you’ve grown up here, you deserve in-state tuition,” Sink said. “That’s the answer I have to give, because I believe that.”

The debate concluded with a vote by Student Congress about which candidate increased his odds of winning the most. Taylor won 11-10 with one write-in vote. No endorsement has been given.

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