USS candidates face off in debate

Breanne George

Christopher Taylor reacts to statements made by Ross Miltner about student safety at yesterday’s Undergraduate Student Senate debates in the Rathskellar. Both are candidates for executive director. An increase in student safety will be one of Taylor’s mai

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The candidates for Undergraduate Student Senate had their final opportunities to debate their opponents and explain their platforms yesterday before Wednesday’s election.

The forum, held in the Rathskeller, was moderated by Jason Lunsford, senior political science major, and focused on students and their questions to the candidates. About 75 students attended the presidential-style debate where candidates stood at podiums beside their opponents. Candidates had one minute to speak and were allowed a one-minute rebuttal to their opponents.

The issues of campus safety versus campus programming caused a heated debate between Ross Miltner and Christopher Taylor, candidates for executive director.

Miltner’s main platform idea is to improve campus programming by working with the All Campus Programming Board. He said he wants to bring the best bands and speakers to the Kent campus so undergraduate students get the most out of their tuition dollars.

“I will act as the chief guardian of where tuition dollars go,” he said. “I have a stronger platform based on real issues. I have the time and necessary qualifications.”

Taylor emphasized the need to improve the quality of life for students. Making reference to the alleged assault on PRIDE!Kent member Angela Wicks last month, Taylor said the issue of public safety needs to be addressed on campus.

While Miltner agreed public safety is important, he said it’s a “non-issue” in that the Kent State campus is ranked one of the safest state universities in Ohio.

Taylor said he believes crimes are underreported on campus, adding that university police need to “stop denying sexual crimes are occurring.”

“Recent attacks have students walking around in a state of fear,” he said. “Students have the right to feel safe on campus.”

Arguing the XF grade

Preston Mitchum and Caitlin Faas, candidates for academic affairs, had opposing views on the XF grade.

“We need to define what cheating and plagiarism is before we take a step to give someone an XF grade,” said Mitchum, who described the policy as an academic “death penalty.”

Faas supported the XF grade, emphasizing the XF grade’s success at other universities.

“If someone works hard and gets an F, that student should not have the same grade as someone getting an F for cheating,” she said.

Faas’ other platform ideas included helping freshmen understand the plus/minus grading process and the effective use of student/teacher evaluations.

Mitchum wants to spread awareness of LERs. He said 80 percent of students are taking only 20 percent of the LERs offered.

Permanent allocations seats

The main issue at hand between the candidates for business and finance senator, Nathan Williams and Sean Groves, was permanent seats on the Undergraduate Student Senate Allocations Committee. Williams wants to increase permanent seats and sees them as necessary for diversity and equality on the committee.

Currently, ACPB, Intercollegiate Greek Programming Board, Black United Students and USS have permanent seats.

Williams said he knows what it is like to be on the opposite side of allocations when he was a member of BUS, and it was requesting funding.

“I know what it’s like to put forth effort and pride in a program and have it turned down,” he said. “I want to fill the board with different types of people with different ideologies. Mandatory seats ensure fairness.”

Groves wants to remove permanent seats because he sees them as unfair to smaller student organizations who are not guaranteed a seat. He said he will act as a liaison between the Allocations Committee and student organizations by getting in contact with as many student organizations as possible and conducting seminars each semester.

“Permanent seats provide an unfair advantage to other groups,” he said. “I encourage any group to come and sit on the committee. Diversity will not be an issue.”

Getting the campus connected

The three candidates for student relations senator debated the university orientation program and how to effectively get USS and student body connected.

Donovan Hill said he wants to start a column in the Daily Kent Stater that explains what each USS senator is working on.

He also expressed concern for the university orientation program. Orientation classes need reform because the current program insults students’ intelligence, Hill said.

Christen Coppola, who is an orientation instructor and trainer, said she has the power to make changes. Her main goals are to create biweekly student luncheons with deans and professors to create a stronger bond between students and administrators.

Brian Appel said he also wants to improve communication between students and administrators, but he disagreed with the luncheons, describing them as an unrealistic goal. He wants to continue the Coffee with Cartwright program with the future president of the university.

Contact student reporter Breanne George at [email protected].