Candidates Debate for Final Time

KELSEY DIRKS | THE SPECTRUM Presidential tickets participated in their final debate Monday, hosted by Bison Media.
KELSEY DIRKS | THE SPECTRUM
Presidential tickets participated in their final debate Monday, hosted by Bison Media.

Student body presidential tickets debated for the final time during Bison Media’s first-ever debate Monday.

The candidates included Tyler Losinski and Charles Steinberger, Nick Evans and Calla Price, Spencer Moir and Anuj Teotia and Jacob Dailey and Mikayla Young.

Elections are open Wednesday and Thursday. Students can vote online at vote.ndsu.nodak.edu. 

The winner will be announced at 8 p.m. outside of the student government office in the Memorial Union.

Full disclosure: The debate, hosted in part by The Spectrum, was moderated by Benjamin Norman, who works both for the paper and KNDS.

Chuck and Chaka

At the first debate, Losinski and Steinberger said if voted in they would volunteer their time instead of accepting the tuition stipend as a means of balancing the budget.

When challenged on whether this would set an expected precedent for future student body presidents, Steinberger said it would be up to candidates and voters to decide if executives should be compensated.

He added that when serving for the North Dakota Future Farmers of America, he was reimbursed for his mileage but never received payment.

To prevent a budget shortfall, Steinberger and Losinski also said they would work to inform and seek input from students on where their student fees go.

They said their priority on their platform and in the legislature will be based on what students demand, citing a proposed student government barbecue to reach out to constituents as well as lobbying for increased in-state scholarships.

Evans and Price

Evans and Price spent a considerable amount of time discussing finances.

This year, Evans sat on the finance commission, the student fee advisory board and student senate when student government faced an over allocation of funds. He continued his conversations about this year’s and next year’s budget.

He said the key to resolving a budget shortfall will be communication and appointing experienced finance commissioners.

They said funds should be allocated to organizations that benefit the most students. Evans said a budget cut in which only tier II organizations feel the impact is not fair.

Teotia questioned Evans and Price’s “universal advising” platform point, citing conversations he’s had with administrators who do not like the idea.

They said though the process doesn’t need to be universal, the student perspective is not being well represented and each college should understand the best practices to ensure student success.

They also said the biggest obstacle to overcome is the financial burden of dealing with increased administration.

Capital projects and working with state Sen. Tim Flakoll to reverse the state supreme court decision that restricted NDSU Police’s jurisdiction to on campus would be Evans and Price’s biggest policies to lobby for.

Jacob and Mikayla

Norman challenged Dailey and Young on their assertion to revise their platform after the election by incorporating the points of other tickets.

“Jacob and I stand by our platform,” Young responded.

Dailey said he knows student government can stretch and grow, adding that points from other tickets can work together to make that happen.

Young said the bulk of their platform will be allocated to their executive team, which would free up their time for the “biggest challenge, (which) is repping NDSU on a legislative level.”

The ticket would advocate for clear communication about needs among the campus community so that when lobbying in Bismarck, legislators face a “united front” from students and administrators.

Dailey also highlighted the importance of working closely with senators on the funding formula.

Regarding their “unified front,” Evans and Price asked what would happen when student concerns do not align with those of faculty, staff and administration. Dailey said based on the conversations they’ve had, most of the NDSU community is on the same page.

To prevent budget shortfall, Dailey and Young said they would look at revamping the tier system and studying programs at other universities to see what works. They also said choosing experienced finance and assistant finance commissioners will be important.

Spencer and Anuj

Moir and Teotia made an impassioned statement when Teotia said he would personally lobby for better student health insurance plans. As an international student, he said it’s hard to pay the $2,500.

Other lobbying priorities for the ticket include working with Flakoll on the issue of jurisdiction and creating open educational resources.

Moir said their hardest point would be their “Clarify” pillar, which “would require a culture shift” and the most work upfront.

Teotia was asked what steps he and Moir would take to enhance transparency outside of their “Follow-up Friday” point if the Listserv system undergoes a proposed overhaul, which would limit student government emails to weekly.

He said digital signage as well as a relationship with student media would ensure students understand the action being taken in response to Tuesday Two results.

Young repeated a question to Teotia that she asked at the last debate: Where were he and Moir planning to stay this summer.

Teotia said though he has not been home to India in 20 months, he and Moir will stay to work toward accomplishing many of their platform points before fall.

Erica Nitschke contributed to this story.

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