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

Gillani and McDavid discuss platforms in 2024 SGA presidential debate

CW / Hannah Grace Mayfield

Candidates Samad Gillani and Will McDavid faced off in the SGA presidential debate Sunday night onstage in the UA Student Center Theater. Kathryn Drago, Blackburn fellows coordinator, moderated the debate. 

Gillani is running on a platform of improving academic excellence, student equity, community collaboration, campus life, and transparency. McDavid wants to bridge the divide between students affiliated with Greek life and unaffiliated students and make the SGA work more closely with the student body. 

Gillani emphasized his experience, saying that serving in other SGA roles has made him the most qualified candidate for office. Gillani previously served as a first-year councilor and deputy chief of staff, and is currently the vice president for external affairs. 

“This is a position which necessitates experience, understanding your university and a proven track record of working on behalf of the student body,” Gillani said.
McDavid has never served in an SGA position but said his experience doing mission work in Brazil gave him the knowledge he’d need for success. 

“My job was to make sure I looked after the people around me and make sure they were OK,” McDavid said.  

When asked how to make the SGA more responsive to student needs, Gillani said he’d create diverse student leadership councils through an initiative he called “Culture UA.” 

“These diverse student leadership councils will consist of UA students who have the opportunity to collaborate together and find solutions to the problems that we see on this campus,” Gillani said.  

McDavid said he’d work with students directly to hear their voices and noted the SGA’s need for greater publicity. 

“I want to get what we’re doing out there so that we can get the feedback of all students and work together,” McDavid said.  

Both candidates were asked about their opinion on the Machine’s influence on student government. Officially known as Theta Nu Epsilon, the Machine is a select coalition of traditionally white fraternities and sororities designed to influence campus policies. 

McDavid said he preferred to discuss what he could accomplish as president rather than discuss the Machine. Gillani said he had no knowledge of such an organization.  

In an interview following the debate, Gillani said students should vote for him because he’ll be “a president for the people.” 

“I’m not the Machine candidate,” McDavid responded when asked why students should vote for him. 

Gillani and McDavid found common ground when asked how they planned to select their cabinet members. Both said they wanted a diverse cabinet representing a broad range of interests. 

“I want to emphasize my commitment to creating an inclusive cabinet that covers all different walks of life,” Gillani said. 

McDavid answered similarly. 

“I would also gather a cabinet that does not look like me, that has different backgrounds and ideas so we can work together and create a better future,” McDavid said. 

Students can vote in the 2024 SGA election Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on myBama. 

More to Discover