MUSG candidates engage in pre-election debate

Candidates for MUSG president and executive vice president participated in a debate Monday night in the Alumni Memorial Union.

With only two days until election day, candidates for Marquette Student Government president and executive vice president defended their platforms at a debate in the Alumni Memorial Union Monday night.

This year’s election pits junior Meghan Ladwig and sophomore running mate Joseph Ciccone, both students in the College of Arts & Sciences, against Emil Ovbiagele and running mate Raviinder Gill, both sophomores in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Students can vote in the election at musg.mu.edu/vote from 12:01 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

The 60-minute debate covered a variety of issues ranging from the candidates’ communication skills to how they handle criticism.

Communication experience

Ladwig worked last semester at the Les Aspin Center in Washington, D.C., contacting politicians and writing press releases. Ciccone worked for two years with aldermen in Chicago’s City Hall, which he said helped shape his communication skills. He said he’s worked with many university officials during his two years as a MUSG senator.

Ovbiagele said representing Nigeria at the Global Young Leaders Conference in 2008 gave him the opportunity to work with leaders from his home country and from around the world.

The search for a new university president

Ovbiagele said the university seeks a president that would be the right fit for students, and the only way to do that is by listening to their opinions.

“We will urge students to come out and state their own opinions and realize that their voice matters,” he said.

Ladwig applauded the university for seeking parent and alumni input in the search for a new university president.

Holding others accountable

“Working together with peers is key,” Ovbiagele said. “While working in the Senate I know most senators would agree that I’m independent. I’m not afraid to call you out. It takes patience and encouragement, and that’s something I’ve had to face on various occasions in the Senate and also within friendships.”

Gill said that as best friends, he and Ovbiagele are not afraid to challenge each other.

Ladwig and Ciccone have been working on their campaign for more than a year, through which the candidates said they’ve built a rapport to be honest with one another.

Ladwig said, “It takes a level of integrity to call out someone if they’re not doing their job. It’s hard, but it needs to be done.”

Jesuit values

Ciccone said he came to Marquette because of its Jesuit values. He said selflessness is the most important thing in recognizing what it means to be “men and women for others.”

If elected, Ovbiagele said his administration would work to create programs where all students can identify with Jesuit values, as all of them are important.

“As student body president and vice president, we would foster an environment where all students can walk out of here knowing that they’ve gotten a Jesuit education,” he said.

Handling constructive criticism

Gill said that his and Ovbiagele’s experience on the MUSG Senate has taught them how to handle different viewpoints.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. (Criticism) is part of the job,” he said. “We know what to expect and we are ready for it.”

Ladwig said the criticism she and Ciccone have taken as MUSG senators has changed them into different people than they were a year ago.

“I can admit I’m a sensitive person. Being able to accept constructive criticism from any level is crucial,” she said.