On Monday, Student Body President candidates met for the final time during a debate hosted by the Board of Elections, with questions submitted via email.
Savannah Putnam, a junior majoring in political science, repeatedly stressed the need for a more powerful “student voice” throughout the night. Her platform rests on the idea that some of student government’s inefficiencies have been caused by its inability to connect and reach out to the student body.
Figuring out the role of student government is also a high priority for junior chemistry and mathematics major Garima Tomar. She takes an even more radical stance on reforming parts of the organization than her opponent, arguing for a redesign of the election process and executive branch.
The first talking point, carried over from Sunday's debate, was mental health. Both candidates agree that the way the University deals with mental health problems within the student body is flawed, but they differ on who is to blame.
Putnam was highly critical of Counseling and Psychological Services, saying the service is unresponsive to the students it’s supposed to serve. She wants to work with the University’s administration to start directives like improving training for Residential Advisers to make them more aware of mental health resources for students.
Her criticism is a result of seeing her friend let down by CAPS and stories from other students who haven’t had success in seeking treatment on campus.
“That system has continuously failed them,” Putnam said.
Tomar said the complications of CAPS can be blamed on high turnover, a young work force and underfunding. She seeks to bolster the service rather than try to extensively change it.
“My platform plans to address the inefficiencies outside of CAPS,” Tomar said.