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Candidates address campus issues

| Sunday, February 9, 2014

20140209-20140209, Debate, Judicial Council, LaFortune Center, Zachary LlorensZachary Llorens
After no clear majority prevailed in Wednesday’s student government election, the two remaining tickets met Sunday to debate student issues in the LaFortune Student Center basement.

Presidential candidate Olivia LaMagna and vice presidential candidate Rohan Andresen will oppose presidential candidate Lauren Vidal and vice presidential candidate Matthew Devine in Monday’s run-off election.

The debate began on the topic of sexual assault.  Andresen and LaMagna said they plan to hold a mid-semester orientation meeting for first-year students to promote awareness on the issue of sexual assault and discuss ways to identify and prevent it.

“We think freshmen are the most impressionable currently,” Andresen said. “They haven’t yet been to dorm parties or really know what sexually assault looks like. These are things that we learn after college through experience unfortunately, that we don’t want them to experience.”

Devine said he thought sexual assault is not as relevant of an issue for first-year students.

“This probably has not occurred in high frequency or relevancy in high school,” he said. “This is something that when living communally with a lot of people becomes a larger issue.”

Devine and Vidal said the creation of S.N.A.P., or Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, would be a more effective way of combating sexual assault.

“S.N.A.P. would be using existing golf carts of NDSP, equipping staff of safewalk to make sure they have proper training, and having three to four golf carts running throughout the night and picking up students,” Vidal said. “It would work as a taxi service to ensure expedient turnover.”

As for the tickets’ view on improving transportation, Andresen and LaMangna said they would work towards improvement with the bus transportation system in order to increase interaction with South Bend.

“We want to make sure it is possible for students to get downtown. If you don’t have a car, it really is hard to take advantage of all there is to offer,” LaMagna said. “We think it is much more valuable to go downtown than to have downtown to start to come to us.”

Vidal said she would like to standardize cab rates across the South Bend area instead of changing bus schedules.

LaMagna said she wanted to make the buses more convenient because all students can use them with their ID cards and do not discriminate for students who can’t afford to take a cab.

At the end of the debate, each ticket discussed an idea unique to their own platform. Devine and Vidal said they want local farmers to bring their goods and produce to South Quad.

“This is something they have been trying to push forward for a while, bringing some of these things to campus to increase students’ knowledge of what goes on in South Bend, and also get students curious to explore what else South Bend has,” Devine said.

Andresen and LaMagna discussed their plan to open up classes to non-majors shortly after registering for classes.

“It’s a step in the direction that the University wants us to take,” LaMagna said. “To be able to have freshman take, for example, computer science classes, which is not a possibility right now.

“The main thing we want to get across is that we just want to make sure everybody feels like they have a spot here at the University, no matter where they are coming from or what they want to do after.”

Vidal concluded the debate by saying her main goal is to make the University as effective as possible when it comes to educating students.

“This is something that has fueled us from the beginning,” Vidal said. “We absolutely love this University, and I am excited to see my friends and share experiences that only can be shared here at this University.”

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