Candidates face off in last debate before Wednesday election

In one of their last chances to address the student body before Marquette Student Government's general elections Wednesday, the presidential and vice presidential candidates duked it out in the final debate Monday night.

The two tickets remaining after last week's primary are Alex Hermanny and Beth Feste, both College of Arts & Sciences juniors; and Brant McCartan, a College of Health Sciences junior, and his running mate, Sara Kandler, a College of Arts & Sciences junior.

The MUSG hopefuls discussed their platforms in opening and closing statements as well as answered questions submitted by the audience.

The debate was moderated by MUSG President Timothy Lefeber, College of Health Sciences senior, and Executive Vice President Emily Rostkowski, a College of Arts & Sciences senior.

In their opening statement, Hermanny and Feste said they wanted to start on their priorities from day one and laid out their ideal schedule of their first day in office.

It included meetings to discuss improvement procedures for the Varsity Theatre, relieve congestion at the Rec Center and address student concerns with the Ombudsperson, a university department that asesses interpersonal issues on campus.

McCartan and Kandler stressed tradition in their first few words. They said they not only wanted to expand current MUSG traditions like Winter Flurry and the Night of Chocolate but also aimed to begin new ones, like a homecoming.

A main concern for the students that continually surfaced was how the candidates plan to shape MUSG into an organization open to everyone. The McCartan-Kandler ticket said it needs to keep in touch with current connections and campaign workers as well as reach out to student organizations and examine their needs.

The team also emphasized collaboration with alumni and making the MUSG office space fun to attract incoming students.

Feste said she knows it is easier to talk to students during campaigning and wants to continue that "honest dialogue" with "students in their element" if she is elected.

Hermanny echoed that statement.

"Let's get out of the office," he said.

Both tickets had a chance to express what they thought was their biggest weakness and how they will overcome it.

The Hermanny-Feste ticket said they have high expectations of people, something that may not play out all the time in real life. To combat this, the running mates would "seek clarity" through conversation.

McCartan said he has always thought he could do everything but wanted to collaborate with others as a solution.

Kandler said she recognizes that some people may not have as much passion as she does on a certain issue and would find out what the students are passionate about to incorporate that into her efforts.

The debate gave each of the contenders an opportunity to show what legislation they passed in their previous MUSG experiences.

Kandler said she noticed the university's nondiscrimination clause did not include sexual orientation and fought to change that her freshman year.

McCartan said he was involved in putting a flagpole in front of John P. Raynor, S.J. Library his freshman year in MUSG.

Feste and Hermanny said they take most pride in their legislation on the language on the plaque in front of the flagpole.

All presidential and vice presidential candidates reached out to the freshman and senior classes.

The Hermanny-Feste ticket advised freshmen to be ready to try new things and take time to build relationships.

They urged the senior class to "vote because you can" and said they could still start on some senior-specific projects in the one-year span.

McCartan and Kandler told the freshmen to get involved in something that suits them.

McCartan stressed the need for seniors to return to Marquette because of established traditions, not just to see a friend.

"We want to have lasting alumni relations," he said.

From midnight to 10 p.m. Wednesday, students can go to the MUSG Web site and enter their eMarq login and password to vote for their ticket.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Mar. 15 2005.