The First President & Treasurer Debate

The Charger Bulletin

By Katerina Sperl and Nadine Northway

The University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) had their first debate of the year for the candidates running for Treasurer and President of the USGA E-Board. For those who do not know, the E-Board currently consists of Sergeant at Arms, Treasurer, Executive Assistant, Vice President, and President. They help make the decisions on campus for clubs and organizations and how a lot of things are run. Running for President of USGA are juniors Zani Imetovski and Ryan “RJay” Irons, and senior Arnold Lane. Candidates for Treasurer are juniors Enrique “Ricky” Cruz and Isaak Kifle.

Patrick Kelland started off the debate with the question, “What is the most difficult challenge you have ever faced in a leadership position?” Both Treasurer candidates surprisingly answered that they wanted to keep everyone on the same page. Kifle emphasized putting himself out there to be more approachable. Cruz tried to show people why they should care just as much as he does.

“What sets you apart from the other candidates?” Kifle stressed that the variety and length of the experiences he has had in the student government gives him a diverse background. His multitude of organizations allows him to meet very diverse people. Cruz’s experience is a bit more specific. He has been treasurer of another organization for the past two years. “All the forms there are to do, been there done that. I know the treasurer position, forms, problems, concerns.”

Tim Farmer, current Treasurer of USGA, picked up the questions from there. “Which section of the USGA financial system needs to be the most improved?” The candidates finally found something to disagree about. “Conference. The conference benefits the entire student body,” Cruz said. Kifle took a different approach, arguing that people should be better informed of policies. He sees a lack of communication that is leading to denied money requests and shortage of events. He wants everyone to be informed of how the system works so that they enter requests knowing more about the processes.

Farmer proceeded to ask, “If you could change one thing that I’ve done this year, what would you do differently?” They both offered constructive criticism for the Banner system. Kifle advised that USGA creates more comprehensive guides on navigating the system. Cruz suggested more forms to help understand how much money was deducted from the organizations’ accounts.

Pat Kelland took the podium again to ask the presidential candidates a monumental question. “What traditions would you like to see brought to campus and how would you implement them? What is a hot topic issue that needs to be addressed?” Imetovski said, “It begins here, places like this, where you get actively involved in the community… This should be like a second home for us. The student government needs to grow with our campus.” Lane advocated for rallying around athletics, and even suggested a chant. He also brought up the issue of retention, something everyone on this campus has seen occurring. “When I hear the University of No Hope or the University of No Housing, that needs to change.” Irons suggested a Charger Week, improving spring weekend time slots, and improving the housing process to be more fair.

“How would you handle the pressure of being USGA president?” Imetovski said he would make this his sole priority. He joked about investing in stress balls before promising not to take any problems personally. Lane relied on talking everything out and letting out emotions only behind closed doors. Irons answered with a quote. “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“What is the number one issue that students are facing?” Imetovski brought up that your biggest problems are related to who you are. “For organizations, the fact that you get bumped from rooms and have your budget cut for no reason. For residents, you’re off campus pretty much by senior year. For commuters, parking.” Lane emphasized the high cost of tuition. Irons suggested spreading the knowledge.

After the questions from Pat Kelland and Tim Farmer, they opened up the discussion to questions from students. Unfortunately, Cruz was unable to stay, but the rest of the candidates were there to answer what applied to them.

The first question asked was how they would rectify the media budget problems in the past, should they happen again. Cruz opened with saying that miscellaneous funds are for the student body. They are not for one certain society’s events. Kifle brought up how SCOPE in the past had some issues with submitting forms and this was a heated debate; however, he believes that they have value in what they fund. Imetovski said that the SCOPE issue was emotional; however, they are a way for students to initially meet people and get involved on campus. Lane said he took into consideration the student body when voting as a senator, on whether or not they should get funding. He wishes that the funds would be used for more educational purposes though, instead of iPads and TVs being given out. Irons said that they should not set the amount of events you have to throw because if there is no funding, there is no event.

The next question asked was how do the candidates’ personalities fit the position? Irons answered how friendly and outgoing he is. Lane said he has a bubbly personality that can tend to be corny, but he is overall laid back. He can be stern with his words but he always maintains composure. Imetovski is ready to help everyone. If he does not have all the answers, he will point students in the right direction. He feels USGA fits with his personality, as current Sergeant -at-Arms. Kifle answered that he is analytical and detail-oriented. He works well with the paperwork side of things and has excellent skills explaining things to people. Helping people is his passion.

The final question asked for the night was why the candidates care about the student body. Irons started out by saying how having the opportunity to serve as president of the USGA, you can make the changes that the students want. He believes that with his motivation, eagerness and drive, he can make those changes. Lane believes that he likes to speak for those who do not speak for themselves. Imetovski said that, in the end, the student body chooses the president to voice their concerns so they need to help people out. “You might not always get the credit, but you know you did something right,” he said. Tune in on Monday, March 25, in the Bixler/Botwinik Quad for the second part of the debate. Food will be provided.