SA debate coverage ft. lack of Chick-fil-a support: Rival Review

Last Thursday the Student Association presidential and vice-presidential candidates met in Marvin for a debate on their policies. Questioning began and ended with representatives from GW’s four main news sources on campus: WRGW, GW-TV, The Hatchet, and us, The Rival. In between were audience questions.

In case you’ve hit snooze on SA election season, the presidential candidates are Adam Johnson, Lande Watson, and Cole Ettingoff. Vice presidential candidates are Peak Sen Chua and Sydney Nelson. Here’s what went down at the debate.

Biggest affordability issue?

  • Adam: Having to pay for a full appointment to get a doctor’s note to be excused from class.

  • Cole: Need to lower the little costs; and create an environment where people can find a home even if they cannot afford to go out.

  • Lande: Not knowing the hidden tuition costs and food insecurity and dining plan doesn’t cover actual cost of food in D.C.

  • Sydney: The cost of taking a class including too high book fees; students should know the cost of a class and all related materials.

  • Peak: Textbooks and healthcare; GW needs online info about insurance and D.C. doctors and a lower missed appointment fee.

Not only do we have a huge affordability issue on campus; we have a huge disparity issue on campus” -Cole

Adam, Cole and Lande (from left to right)

Adam, Cole and Lande (from left to right)

Improving mental health?

  • Adam: Increase free sessions from six to eight and be transparent with costs of psychiatry.

  • Cole: Students who need ongoing mental health support should be allowed more free sessions if they cannot afford (case-by-case basis). Mental Health Services is struggling as is, so should work more with local doctors to address psychiatry needs.

  • Lande: Can’t see student health as short-term when students have long-term mental health problems. Need to increase six to twelve sessions. She will meet with the new director immediately about lowering costs.

  • Sydney: Being open only 10a.m.-3p.m. limits access especially for working students, so should offer evening hours (which we did after the election) and lower appointment fees.

  • Peak: Before we can increase hours and free sessions, we need to hire more staff. Also need to provide more info on available resources.

Keeping all students safe given current administration’s past actions?

  • Adam: Every single student needs to be protected.

  • Cole: We need to be prepared for anything; the university had a strong response earlier this year.

  • Lande: Need to develop legal resources for international students and make them downloadable in case students are scared to ask for help.

  • Sydney: Be more flexible with leave allowances and help undocumented students anonymously, so they don’t become targets.

  • Peak: Make a list of student reps from different countries who new international students can use to get connected. Also fight against budget cuts to international student office.

“I’ve talked to many students on campus who truly feel scared… simply put, they should be protected”-Adam

Reed Westcott asking a question on behalf of The Rival

Reed Westcott asking a question on behalf of The Rival

Biggest problem with the Student Association currently?

  • Adam: Students don’t know you can come speak to the SA without being a part of it. Also you have to have ties to get positions.

  • Cole: There are a lot of problems, but we really need to get more people involved.

  • Lande: SA doesn’t empower the executive cabinet; if they can take on projects of their own, more can get done each year.

  • Sydney: Encourage students to promote change even if they aren’t in the SA. Need more collaboration with student orgs.

  • Peak: The senate and executive need to be more connected; newly elected senators should meet with the former ones.

What differentiates your platform?

  • Adam: The other candidates are asking too much and too big, as opposed to doable goals.

  • Cole: Shouldn’t ask for a long list of things; need to deal with systematic problems.

  • Lande: Looks at what students need to be successful, not just things we want to have.

  • Sydney: Thinking long-term about empowering students, such as creating more dean’s advisory boards.

  • Peak: Focused on community with the unique perspective as a minority student; has administration experience.

“I believe we need to put the needs of students at the center of everything we do” -Lande

How will you make university decisions more transparent?

  • Adam: Beyond transparency between university and students, the student body and the SA need transparency. SA actions should be accessible.

  • Cole: President Knapp and his team are almost never at student events; need connections between students and staff to build trust in the school.

  • Lande: Need a full breakdown of costs; the housing office, Center for Student Engagement, and Greek life need to communicate with each other and to students about housing.

  • Sydney: The administration needs to answer students promptly; all courses need full description with course disclaimer fee.

  • Peak: Will push for town halls because the new president, Thomas LeBlanc, has said he wants to engage with students.

The Rival’s Reed Westcott’s final question was, “What is your favorite dining option in District, and why is it Chick-fil-A?”

Every single candidate got it wrong. We gave them the answer, the easiest soft ball in the world and somehow they still got it wrong. Their answers and reasoning:

  • Adam: Wiseguy, because it’s a great late-night snack.

  • Cole: Wiseguy, because it’s always good to have more pizza.

  • Lande: Peet’s, because, like her, is from the Bay Area.

  • Sydney: GRK, because she loves Greek yogurt.

  • Peak: Wiseguy, because when he told an employee who’s from Burkina Faso that he represented Burkina Faso in model United Nations, he got free garlic knots.

Voting is this Wednesday and Thursday, March 29 and 30! Regardless of your Chick-fil-A feelings, make sure to vote.

Originally published at by Emily Milakovic on 3.27.17.
361 views on date of transfer.

CampusEmily Milakovic