CCSC Executive Board Debate
Written by Bwog Staff
On Thursday, Bwog correspondent Katie Reedy took on the grand dame of student council debates: the contest for Executive Board.
The CCSC Executive Board debates on Thursday night, while rather subdued
on the part of the actual candidates for office, had the odd
feeling of a sporting event: Plates of JJ’s buffalo wings and
chicken fingers were messily consumed, two eager students made a
“WE HEART …” sign for the debate moderator, and during a quiet
moment, another gleeful audience member suggested loudly that a
candidate “sing the fight song!”
But apart from the audience’s odd spirit, the debates generally
swung between two more somber poles, financial aid reform and the
“diversity issue,” with talk of space, parties, and debit cards for
student groups making brief appearances.
Both parties have come out strongly in favor of reforming financial
aid, although each side made different claims as to how this will be
done. The Evolution party (with presidential candidate Nishant Dixit) came
out with apparently concrete plans for subsidizing housing and
dining and finding ways to help with meals for upperclassmen. The
Open Columbia ticket (with presidential candidate Seth Flaxman for), emphasized that its current E-board members have already gone in the direction of calling for changes similar to those made by UPenn. Andrew
Russeth, current VP for funding, running on the Open Columbia
ticket, fired back at Evolution by pulling his experience card.
“Subsidizing housing and dining will cost millions,” he said,
adding, “Where will the money come from?”
Talk of diversity and multicultural awareness generally treaded
over the same worn ground, with each group agreeing to support all
or some of the demands of SHOCC and call for more
administration attention for minorities and better responses to
hate crimes. Evolution specifically played up the leadership roles
candidates Anthony Walker and Calvin Sun have held in the Black
Students Organization and Asian American Alliance, respectively, and
came out as stronger supporters of SHOCC.
The somewhat bizarre issue of debit cards for student groups that
will allow funding to reach groups more directly appeared several
times in the debate. On one hand, Russeth pulled out his experience
card again, claiming that the cards would appear by the fall
semester. After a rather irate audience member marched up to the
microphone during the open question part of the debates and
exclaimed, “I don’t believe you!”, Dixit rose to the occasion by
claiming Evolution would take a “pilot progam” proposal directly to
CitiBank as soon as possible before they spoke to the
Heavily playing up their experience, Open Columbia took multiple
opportunities to emphasize the presence of current E-boarders
Russeth and Izumi Devalier, current VP for policy. This involved an
amusingly awkard moment when Flaxman, given the question as to what
he saw as the defining characteristic of his party, eagerly
exclaimed, “I’m very excited to work with Andrew and Izumi
specifically!” and then, after laughs from the audience, awkwardly
extended his excitement to other candidates on his ticket Ana Ortiz
and Sarah Hwang.
There were two other entertaining moments in the debate. Calvin Sun, running for VP for communications, solemnly intoned that the Lerner 6 space was one of the many “festering problems” facing student-administration affairs. Hyperbole is funny.
And when prompted to list the precise actions each E-board would take
immediately, Andrew Russeth deadpanned that they would not only
increase the number of printers on campus but also place staplers
near them! He also stated, to mixed annoyance and laughter, that
during election season, “it is time to make promises that we’ll
break.” As it turns out, honesty is also funny.