by Sarah Willson
A rapid series of firestorm questions greeted this year’s Student Government Association candidates for their annual debate, a key event which will help determine the future of the Executive Board.
Moderated by a Central Connecticut student, each debate, which included candidates for President, Vice President and Treasurer, lasted approximately 30 minutes with exactly two minutes to answer each question.
One of the main topics discussed between Presidential candidates Victor Constanza and Kassandra Fruin regarded the diverse on-campus population and how candidates will effectively work with and promote tolerance for all students.
“Something I really want to make sure we’re doing for [the SGA] is having proper awareness training and making sure that we utilize the time that we have and actively working with everyone,” Fruin said discussing SGA retreats. “I really care about speaking for students who don’t have a platform.”
Constanza agreed, saying that he believed promoting tolerance for everyone on-campus begins internally.
“We’re working on a reform for the first year class. It will be mandatory and it will have diversity training [and] lectures, sexual violence training, suicide awareness training and mandatory community service.” Constanza said.
More than anything, both candidates agreed that the SGA is ultimately a voice for all students.
“We are student activists. I believe we should advocate for every student no matter who we’re dealing with,” Constanza said. “We are their front lines for everything.”
“The Student Government really needs to be empowering to all students on-campus and making sure that we are actively hearing their concerns. I really want to give it back to the students who gave it forward to me,” Fruin said.
Despite the fact that only two debated on stage, there are a total of three candidates on the ballot, including Sabrina Morin, who opted out of the debate.
Candidates for Vice President also spoke of the changes they want to see while working with the president.
“I think that by heading and facilitating the Internal Affairs committee as Vice-President, we can work with committee leadership and the rest of senate to fix the problem [of committee overlap],” Vice Presidential Candidate Dante Solano said. “Transparency in senate, accessibility in senate and accountability of senate and fixing the Liason program [are all important].”
Running on a slightly different platform, Chris Theriault said his main focuses will include structure, transparency and accountability.
“Structure, revisiting the senate stipend contract, the Liason program, things within the bylaws to make sure that this Student Government body can be as efficient as possible is all important,” Theriault said.
Final Vice Presidential candidate Jacey Long, who has suspended her campaign but is still running for office, said that while she “doesn’t know a lot about what’s going on in [her] life, [she is sure she] wants to run for this.”
“I’m not exactly perfect, but one of the things I’m not afraid to do is say something that I think,” Long said. “I came here to say that we need to begin thinking about how we interact with people.”
Justin Boutin, another Vice Presidential candidate, failed to show to the debate despite multiple attempts of contact by current President Brendan Kruh.
Candidates for Treasurer also voiced their opinions on issues surrounding CCSU, specifically speaking of on-campus clubs and the financial assistance they require.
“I believe that clubs are the heart and soul of Central,” candidate for treasurer Kristina DeVivo said. “They should have an excessive amount of funding [because] they cant get to where they’ve been without it.”
Candidate Nicole Elsinger agreed, saying she would advocate for the support and funding for all 180 on-campus clubs, whether they are big or small.
“My main priority would be maintaining the work that has already been done,” Elsinger said. “I would like to support both large and small clubs.”
Despite the agreement between Devivo and Elsinger, candidate Tom Mitchell highly disagreed.
With $570,000 given to clubs each year, Mitchell said that he “firmly believes” the SGA over-funds clubs.
“We have multiple times this year come to a meeting where people opt to fund a club more than they were asking for and that’s not an effective way to use our funds,” Mitchell said.
Central students will be able to vote for the candidates via Collegiate Link starting Monday, March 26 at 10 a.m.