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Martin endorsed at second debate of student body president campaign season

Student Body President Debate
(Left to right) Ashton Martin, Jack Noble, Jane Tullis and Tarik Woods participated in the Student Body Presidential Debate on Thursday, Feb.7, 2019. The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies hosted the event in New West in front of a small audience comprised of UNC-Chapel Hill students.

The four candidates for student body president met in New West on Thursday for the second debate of the campaign season hosted by the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. After the debate, the host endorsed candidate Ashton Martin.

Martin was joined by Jack Noble, Jane Tullis and Tarik Woods, all of whom faced various questions on critical student issues, in addition to direct questions about each candidates’ platform.

When asked where funding could be reduced at the University, Tullis said changes should be made to graduate and professional student stipends.

“So while we don’t need to be removing any stipends from students, we should be freezing some of them until we achieve parity between a variety of professional and graduate students we have on this campus,” Tullis said.  

Martin said no funding should be cut for student organizations, but sustainability fees should be audited to ensure they are being used properly.

“I think everything that people are working towards on this campus are equally important and the thought of decreasing funding is just not fair,” Martin said.

Moving toward the subject of controversial speakers on campus — an issue that has become more prominent with the Silent Sam protests last year — Noble said the University should put some restrictions on speakers who have a history of derogatory speech that makes students feel unsafe.

“This is supposed to be a University of students where students are supposed to feel safe where students are supposed to learn,” Noble said.

Building on the first debate of the campaign hosted by the Campus Y on Wednesday, the candidates were asked specific questions about their platforms.

The moderators asked Woods, who resigned from Undergraduate Senate in November 2017, about why he is trying to return to student government as leader of the Executive Branch.

Woods said he wants to involve more people from the Undergraduate Senate on the Executive Branch and make sure the goals of the Executive Branch and Senate align better.

“I’m going to bring about this cultural change to the student government that we all talk about and that we all know are necessary that require code and constitutional changes,” he said.   

Tullis proposed an amendment to the Student Code that obligates the student body president to meet with both the Campus Y co-presidents and the executive team of the Coalition of Awareness, Resistance and Solidarity — a liaison for diverse groups at UNC.

The moderators asked Tullis why she wants to make a change that will affect student body presidents after her. 

Tullis said she wants to change the Student Code so every future student body president is held to the same responsibilities and standards. Since this is a big change, Tullis said she spoke to the current leaders of the Campus Y and CARS to see if they were on board and made sure there are ways to reverse the decision.

“We’ve seen previously we have a history of student government not actually being representative of the students that they’re supposed to serve,” Tullis said. “I think a large part of that it’s an expectation that’s increased year by year because of how insular student government has grown.”

As the race for student body president carries on, candidates will continue publicizing their platforms before the election next Tuesday.


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