Candidates debate for top SGA office

The first debate for the 2009-2010 Student Government Association (SGA) presidential candidates was held March 20 in front of a small student crowd comprised mostly of SGA senators to air topics concerning the SGA’s future direction.Junior Kevin Issadore and sophomore Bryce Jones debated issues on future student relations with the administration, the SGA’s relation with campus clubs and the recent decrease in student government visibility.”I think that right now students feel that they can’t come to the SGA,” Jones said. “Students, like the numbers say, nobody cares or knows who is running the SGA. That is what needs to significantly change. And I think that will change if senators step up their game and start working with the students again.”Issadore agreed with Jones that there has been a recent lack of a general student body relationship with the SGA.”We need to increase the visibility of the SGA on this campus, we need to make it known what we do,” Issadore said. “If we start right there, these problems that we always talk about will fix themselves.”With this February’s 2010 fiscal year budget cuts, future communication between the administration and the students was discussed as part of the SGA’s responsibilities.”My relationship that I see with [University President Daniel Mark] Fogel next year is probably going to be pretty combative, because next semester when students are actually in their classes is when we are going to be able to tell if the increasing class sizes are going to have a drastic effect or not,” Jones said.Issadore acknowledged the changing nature of communications with the administration as well, but differed in the commitment to conflict that Jones offered.”In terms of relationships with President Fogel, I wouldn’t say that it will be combative. I think that there will be disagreements, but those disagreements are going to come if the student body feels that there is a disagreement,” Issadore said.In response to a question concerning the recent hazing investigations into the SGA funded sailing club, Jones and Issadore disagreed about how to police and monitor actions of clubs in the future.Jones compared the SGA’s involvement with clubs to the standards that UVM’s Greek Life is held to, including their UVM appointed staff advisor.”Right now, there is no position [person] in place to hold clubs and organizations accountable so it just inherently falls back on the SGA,” Jones said. “None of us like to sanction our peers, we don’t enjoy doing that and I honestly don’t believe that we should.”Issadore did not see a similar need for a paid staff position.”I would just say that I agree with students holding students accountable instead of a paid position. Part of that stems from the fact that Greek organizations are not funded through this body,” Issadore said. “The SGA should be able to take those difficult, but necessary, steps.”The elections for SGA president and vice president will be conducted on the SGA’s Web site “The Lynx” on March 23 and 24.