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The Daily Tar Heel

Two suits, one jersey: The Daily Tar Heel's student body president debate

Wilson Sink (left), John Taylor (center) and Bradley Opere (right) pictured during the Daily Tar Heel's Student Body President Forum.
Wilson Sink (left), John Taylor (center) and Bradley Opere (right) pictured during the Daily Tar Heel's Student Body President Forum.

Candidate Wilson Sink, who wore the jersey, also stood out with a different opinion about graduate student governance.

Sink said he would not publicly take a stance on the issue because he supports graduate students’ right to self-determination.

Candidates John Taylor and Bradley Opere said they don’t think graduate students should split.

“We are more powerful when we are one voice,” Taylor said.

Opere said a split could affect the student body president’s seat on the Board of Trustees.

Feminism and sexual assault

“When I think of feminism, I think of my grandmother, who worked in cotton mills to send my mother to law school,” Taylor said.

All three candidates identified as feminists, including Taylor, who said people might have questioned his opinions about feminism in past debates.

“Part of the journey is recognizing that there are three men running, and we all benefit from a system of patriarchy,” Opere said.

A question about feminism sparked a conversation on sexual assault.

“Student government should have a stronger leadership role on sexual assault,” Opere said.

Opere proposed a YouTube series that would encourage active bystanders.

Taylor said every student should be One Act and HAVEN trained.

Sink acknowledged the high sexual assault statistics in Interfraternity Council fraternities. He wants to expand the Delta Advocates program to fraternities and publicize sexual assault resources.

Racial issues

Taylor said of the demands presented at a town hall meeting last year, hiring more African-American professors stands out.

“As a white guy, there’s only so much I can experience,” Taylor said. “I think if you really want to educate people on the African-American experience in our world, you have to have experienced it yourself.”

The other candidates said Taylor’s proposal to embed racial history into the English 105 curriculum isn’t feasible.

Opere said he was there when the demands were made. He wants to focus on data about minority dropout rates.

Sink wants to add a Black and Blue Tour to orientation to educate students about racial history.

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Margaret Spellings

Sink said he plans to challenge the UNC-system’s new president Margaret Spellings on issues like gender-neutral bathrooms and housing.

“It’s important to recognize that we can’t get her out of office,” Sink said.

Taylor said it is important to have a good working relationship with Spellings. He brought up her comments regarding LGBTQ “lifestyles” which offended a great deal of students.

“We have got to recognize LGBTQ students on campus,” he said. “My own sister, my own flesh and blood, is transgender.”

Opere said Spellings’ appointment sent the wrong message about protecting democratic principles.