Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Second debate features presidential candidates

At Wednesday night’s SGA presidential debate, candidates Matthew Brown and James Fowler discussed various topics, including the minimester program and bringing the community closer to the SGA.

The Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and the African-American politics seminar in the Honors College sponsored the event.

Taking time at the beginning of the debate to discuss their vision for the presidential office, Brown said he has always been amazed by the potential of the office.

“I saw potential in this office and strong potential in what can be done,” Brown said. “I know several people are frustrated at what they are seeing on campus.”

In addition, Brown emphasized the importance of collaboration – not just within the SGA, but all over campus.

“Without this, the SGA becomes perceived as a group that works only for itself,” Brown said.

In his introduction, Fowler discussed how it will only be with “your interest and involvement that we will push SGA to the strongest we’ve had.”

“I want to reform aspects of SGA that are less than perfect,” Fowler said.

When asked how he would ensure academic equality, Brown said it is important that a student knows what they want to do.

“If students lay out a plan, we’ll know how many classrooms we’ll need for what classes,” Brown said.

On the same note, Fowler suggested that the key issue is if students can pay for their classes or not.

“One of keys is if students can pay,” Fowler said. “We need to make sure that all students have a way to pay for these classes.”

Approaching the subject in a different light, Brown said what the University needs to do is invest itself in green initiatives, cutting wasteful spending and helping the University save money in the process.

Other candidates had mentioned trying to change the plus/minus grading system. Brown said it was something to look into, but that a limiting factor to this is inflation.

“We don’t want an A at the University to be worthless,” Brown said. “I think it is something to take a hard look at, but not hurt students in long run.”

Agreeing with Brown’s point, Fowler said that in addition to forming a committee to analyze the program’s merits, the SGA must also talk to students as well.

“I want to make sure we pull input from the student body,” Fowler said.

The next question involved student engagement and ways to increase it on campus. Fowler suggest that it is important to start early with reaching students.

“We want to go after them and reach out from day one,” Fowler said. “The SGA will lead the way as we bring everyone together and all corners are represented.”

Brown, however, pointed to his past experiences in reaching groups of students.

“I believe in the organizations on campus, and we need to make sure we strengthen them to reach out to the community,” Brown said.

Fowler, on the other hand, pointed to his own work.

“My experience speaks for itself,” Fowler said. “We do need to expand upon that, however.”

With regards to future enrollment increases, Fowler said that in spite of a growing campus community, students need to remain engaged.

“We need to make sure we are able to provide opportunities for students to become engaged,” Fowler said. “We need to put their needs on the table from the beginning and not as an afterthought.”

Brown pointed to how as the University grows, it can also seem smaller in the sense that a new student may become isolated and feel insignificant.

“We have to make sure we get them out of rooms and get them to events so they feel they are part of family,” Brown said.

Regarding any possible increases to tuition at the University, Brown said that care must be taken not to waste any money, pointing to how the University must adopt more green initiatives to cut costs and save money in the process.

“We can’t afford to be wasting money right now,” Brown said. “Energy equals money.”

On a counterpoint, Fowler said other methods must be examined as well.

“We have to look to provide other ways to insure that students have an education,” Fowler said.

And ultimately, when asked why they should be elected SGA president, Brown said his passion is for people and building a strong community.

“I see great potential to use SGA to make campus much stronger,” Brown said.

Fowler said that coupled with his experience and plans for the future, he can make the UA community stronger. However, Brown said he was curious about this remark.

“He has experience, but I want to hear about what James wants to do in the future,” Brown said.

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