Thompson, Mote introduce platforms at presidential debate

Tashema Alexander
Cassie Gibbs
Staff Writer

Faith Mote and Matthew Thompson, candidates for president of the Student Government Association, met Monday night in Claudia Crosby Theater for a debate.
This debate was meant to inform the student body on how each of the candidate’s policies would bring changes to Troy University and how their platforms would be exceptionally suitable for the needs and wants of the students.
Tropolitan staff members, features editor Emily Jackson, a multimedia journalism major from Athens, and assistant news editor Karli Mauldin, a multimedia journalism major from Franklin, Tenn., moderated the event.
To begin the debate, the candidates were asked to introduce themselves and their platform.
Matthew Thompson, a sophomore double majoring in accounting and economics and a current senator-at-large and finance coordinator of the SGA from Montgomery, introduced his platform first.
He described his platform as one that is based on the voices of the students.
Thompson also said his plans to address issues such as parking, the inconvenience of dining hours and healthy food options in the Trojan Center, and the openness of the SGA executive members if he becomes the next SGA president.
Faith Mote, a junior communications major and current chair of the student welfare committee from Birmingham, discussed the changes she would like to make on campus as president of the SGA.
Mote’s platform includes developing interpersonal relationships with the student body to better connect the students, the SGA, and the administration, applying a new media plan that would allow her to be more available to the needs of the students, and laying a foundation for the recreational center.
Mote said she would be diligent in making sure the development of the student recreation center will be student-led in several areas such as which equipment would be brought into the center.
After each candidate’s opening speech, they were asked a series of questions in four rounds.
In the first round, candidates were asked questions related to points of their platforms.
Mote’s first individual question was about balancing the spread of information on SGA activities with accomplishing the goals of the SGA.
Mote responded with information about her media plan, which includes blogging or uploading videos, helping increase the transparency of the SGA so that students are aware of the actions of the executive officers and the president.
Thompson rebutted, saying that his open-door policy will help students see more of what the SGA and it’s executive officers are doing and help the students be able to voice their opinions.
Thompson’s individual question regarded his policy on changing Trojan Center dining hours and  providing healthier food options.
Thompson said that there are many food options are not necessarily  healthy choices.
He also said that the late-night dining options don’t offer healthy options.
The hours of the Trojan Center are an issue that he would like to change for those students whose daily activities affect their ability to visit many of the dining centers on campus.
In the second round of questions, each candidate was asked to answer a general question about Troy University’s speech policy and the changes they thought should be made.
Thompson said he would like to see students involved with organizations to voice their opinions about the revision of policies and to bring their constitutions to the SGA if they have concerns about their freedom of speech.
Mote said that in order to combat the speech issue, the code of conduct would need to be looked at and possibly be reworded in order to lessen any strains on students’ freedom of speech.
The third round of questions allowed each candidate to ask the other a question about their platforms.
Thompson asked Mote why she only seemed to be looking for potential problems instead of problems that already exist.
Mote said that her platform was centered on what the students wanted and that other issues were already being discussed in SGA at this time.
Mote asked Thompson what steps he was going to take to implement the changes he thought should be made for the parking situation.
Thompson said that he would like to see the transit program to be better marketed to the students to show the options of transport to and from campus.
He also said that students who live closer to campus should take the initiative of walking or biking to school.
The student body via Twitter asked the fourth round of questions.
Many questions were asked about the candidates’ policies and the actions that each would take if elected to office regarding such situations as helping with the recruitment of new students.
Current SGA President Cody Farrill, a senior political science major from Panama City Beach, Fla., asked one question regarding how the candidates’ administrations would stand out from the current administration.
“What would separate me from other administrations in the past is that I will be more relatable by talking to the students and organizations more,” Mote said.
“The current administration has done a great job of representing the wants of the students, but I believe that we will not have progress behind closed doors,” Thompson said. “Myself and my executive board will be available and listen to what you want and take action.”
Both candidates ended the debate with closing statements emphasizing the points of their platforms and reassuring the students of their wish to fully represent them.
Mary Kelly Cantrell, a freshman communications major from Sylacauga, said that the debate was a success.
“Both candidates did a great job and both of them had really great points.”

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