Monday, April 6, 2009

Ticket Debate Recap

Today was the final TSG ticket debate before voting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Held under the largest 8 color news ticker in the world in Alter Hall, the debate was between both 3 member tickets, TU Action and TU Dream Team. Cingular users were also screwed, as there was no service. +1 Verizon.

First question to TU Action VP of Services candidate Jon Desantis: There is a disconnect between graduate schools and undergrad, and you also stated you want to have the grad law school offer legal council to students. A) How are you gonna do this B) won't this piss UDC people off?

DeSantis starts off with the age old if other schools do it why can't we, citing that there are a variety of schools that do this and naming University of Florida.

+1/2 DeSantis. Legal counsel to students would be pretty cool, but for such a complicated process and question, Desantis' response is underwhelming.

VP of Services for TU Dream Team Alex Barnett's rebuttal: Barnett began with his urban cowboy dialect when he asked, “Can Y’all hear me in the back.” After y’all never responded he begins to answer TU Action. First he asks about why law school kids would want to do this, whether or not students would be receptive, and then delivers a low blow by bringing up 22 underage citations that Desantis’ fraternity accrued at one of their parties. He states that this would be a moral hazard.

No points. It's true that law students have a shit ton to do other than defend the random freshman that was caught urinating in an alley way, but the only was to know this for sure is to actually talk to them. The low blow was more shock and awe than useful, and really wasn't necessary.

Desantis' rebuttal: Desantis states that law school students would want to practice in an environment without consequence and that no one was charged with an underage.

No points. I doubt Desantis' psychic abilities as well; it would be helpful if either ticket actually can name a contact in the law school that is on board with this.

Question 2 to Barnett: You talk a lot about allocations needing to be fixed. However, your ticket has been trying to reform the guidelines but the senate shot ya down. What's up with that?

Barnett's response: Barnett says that the guidelines are too strict, that the door needs to be open to allocations. He states that the senate doesn't understand the guidelines and is getting caught up in how to make them better, but reform to make the money more accessible is definitely needed.

+1 to Barnett, it is true that the guidelines need a good overhauling, with the key goal of making the money more accessible. The fact that TU Dream Team presidential candidate Gaelle Amazan and him have been heading the effort up lend credibility.

DeSantis' response: Barnett speaks the truth, reform is needed. However, while Barnett's reforms only focus on the definition of a banquet, TU Action is thinking big changes, and not just 5 words. He's also gonna put the documents online which makes the process more green and efficient by allowing orgs to constantly update their form.

+1 Desantis. 1/2 goes to Desantis for also recognizing the need to reform, but that's still dream team's territory. However picks up another 1/2 for innovately suggesting the use of the internet for forms, which makes it easier for students orgs. Also, these debates are getting dirtier on both sides.

Barnett's response: Dude, the bill is 1,000 words long not just 5, I hope you actually read it. TU Action hasn't been trying to reform the bills, we have. The key issue here is having a way to approve bills in the off weeks between Senate meetings.

+1 Barnett. Returns nicely with a poignant quip about the 5 word thing, and then correctly identifies the biggest issue of allocations being that orgs sometimes must wait 2 weeks to get funding they need ASAP.

Question 3 to TU Dream Team VP of External Affairs candidate Kevin Gerard: What are some issues you don't agree with the administration on, and how will you work with them to build consensus?

Gerard: There really aren't too many problems between the administration and students. The biggest issue is a lack of communication, but the administration has been good with including students in their initiatives. Student councils will help communication, as will sitting on the faculty senate.

No points. No problems between the administration and students? Wha? The student councils were supposed to be between students and teachers, sometimes deans. I don't think this is the connection between students and big time admins that the question was referring to.

TU Action's candidate for VP of external affairs Anthony Leyro's response: Uhh, dude, housing, finance, and advisers are all problems. The disconnect is between the average student and administration.

+1/2 Leyro. Names three problems, identifies the gap between students and their day to day problems and students voicing them to admins, but doesn't expand.

Gerard's rebuttal: All of those concerns are expressed in TU Dream Team's platform: online surveys for housing, student councils for finance and advising.

In an unprecedented move, the C&W is scoring +3/4 for Gerard. He saves face on his initial response by coming back and stating 3 solutions to the 3 problems named. However, college councils wouldn't have much use in addressing financial concerns, as the faculty and admin on these councils would not be the people formulating financial strategy.

Question 4 to Leyro: How would you influence external media sources to stop portraying Temple students as evil kids who piss on bushes and instead as garbage bag wielding angels?

Leyro: Well, I don't think the media portrays us that poorly, we just need to make sure they focus on the good stuff. TU Action is planning to paint a mural on campus, and also want to focus on more sustained and continued community service, as well as work with other student govs to tackle issues.

+1/2 Leyro. It is true that sustained community service is what we need. Good neighbors constantly help each other, and 59 nights of pissing on bushes and 1 day of cleaning garbage isn't anyway near as useful alternating days pissing on bushes and cleaning. However, no mention of how to inspire students to do this, and also, the media does in fact portray us pretty negatively.

Gerard's rebuttal: Gerard talks about a lot of stuff about how community service is a moral fiber of his and how there is a need to redefine the Temple image, none of which I picked up. Then in 15 seconds he sneaks in a pretty good idea: requiring the local community and media director to form a monthly report on what's been done to get Temple into the press in a positive light, and earns himself half a point.

+1/2, yea stick to the tangibles man.

Leyro responds:Students are doing a lot, we just need to focus more on the bad and not on the good.

Oh, it's that easy? Erm...

Question number 5 to Patterson: (You know its gonna be a doosie when the question is broken into three parts) The unions and the admin can't agree to a contract. What are you going to do to 1. prevent a strike 2. weather a strike and 3. work with the admin?

Patterson's response: Patterson states that she originally voted in favor of the AFSCME/TAUP support bill in the senate, but then abstained in the post-veto re-vote because she didn't want to vote with her personal feelings. She believes the administration offered them the best possible contract, and isn't the enemy. The issue is communication. Patterson said she wants to better this.

No points. The C&W doesn't pretend to know if the contract was fair or not, but Patterson offers no research as to why she thought it was. She also doesn't answer the question about what her plan of action would be in the event of a strike.

Amazan responds: Communication isn't the main problem, transparency is. TU Dream Team attended the Student Labor Action Project's rally last week in support of the unions, and this is the kind of thing you have to do to understand the issue more in depth.

+1/2 Amazan for recognizing transparency is key. In issues where you have two sides like this transparency will be the only route to make a truthful decision.

Patterson: True, transparency is needed. That is why she will have round table discussions to get administrators, unions, and students in the same room. She believes strongly that if you put people in the same room they will come out with a solution. SLAP doesn't represent 30,000 students.

+1/2 Patterson, now we're talking about some innovative solutions by putting students in the meetings with the administrators and union members.

Question 6 to Amazan: Samesies!

Scoring: Samesies! +1/2 to both as they pretty much restated what they said before.

Question 7 began the audience question portion of the debate. To Gerard and Leyro: How are you going to get better press, part II.

Gerard: It isn't a simple process, you have to start small and build up. Get Temple press to highlight your successes first. Then have your own spin doctors working to get that press to the city papers. Gerard then states that THE CHERRY AND WHAT showed that we were in the top 10 party schools, which is sad.

Leyro: Use the on campus media tools, then go global. He then tells Kevin that the C&W punked him; it was an april fools prank.

+1/2 to Gerard for understanding that you need to have people constantly pressing the issue with the guys down at the Inquirer to have your side heard. However, actually knowing some contacts would be nice. Leyro: Go global? Huh? Also, Gerard later claimed he knew that the C&W party school post was a prank, but did he really??

Question 8 to Patterson and Amazan: Commuters are students too! Help them!

Patterson: You're right, commuters are students too, and we will represent them by doing our weekly surveys. The key is to make TSG transparent and be proactive in meeting people. Also, they will help to set up a system where teachers will give daily updates on what's going on so commuters and similar students know what is going on.

Amazan: We're going to have a fully functioning website where students can get updated on everything going on. Yea, it's called the Cherry and What. Also, they're going to do orientations with student orgs so they know how to access the information and get involved.

+1/2 to Patterson. Both tickets have very similar ideas here to keep students in the loop. Patterson gets the half point because giving teachers the resources to update classes on what is going on seems a bit more effective then the student org orientation.

Question 9 to TU action: You have a lot of service ideas, from the buses to legal services. How the hell are you going to pay for it?

TU Action: They're going to be more careful with the budget. Every expenditure is going to be rated with how much it helps the students, and it must pass the test. Things that involve student safety, like buses, will be priority.

+1. That makes sense, you set your priorities and pay for it, and hell, if there are no pens and paper in the TSG office, so be it.

Question 10 to TU Dream Team: How are you going to engage more senators and get them on board?

Hopefully the next senate will be more involved. The issue is with efficiency, and you just have to keep them informed on why the changes are necessary.

Weak questions and weak answer, no points.

Question 11: This was a great one, as a student stood up and explained he was an average student with an average concern: Food prices are whack! What's up with that?

Barnett: Damn skippy! You pay for those meals, you have a right to use them whenever you want. If you want 3 lunches, you should get 3 lunches. We will communicate with students to figure out what the concerns are, and then address them to the administration and people who control prices, and have accountability.

DeSantis: Temple has a contract with Sodexho for like 12 years, so there isn't much you can do besides educate students on other places to eat. Thinking you're going to change sodexo is just "a dream"

+1 Barnett. Barnett hits the nail on the head; we're customers, we should have some input on what we're paying for. DeSantis saying to not even try is pretty weak.

At this point there were two more questions, both for TU Dream Team, so the C&W will not factor them into it's scoring in interest of equal opportunity to score points.

This moves the final score to: TU Dream Team: 5.75 TU Action: 5

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