Campuswide issues discussed at ISS debate

Ben Jarrett speaks at the ISS LAS-D candidate debate Thursday. To his left, waiting to speak, are candidates Maria Magginas, Max McClintock, Trent Morrow, Carlos Rosa and Ramsen Zacharia. Erica Magda

Ben Jarrett speaks at the ISS LAS-D candidate debate Thursday. To his left, waiting to speak, are candidates Maria Magginas, Max McClintock, Trent Morrow, Carlos Rosa and Ramsen Zacharia. Erica Magda

By Eric Heisig

The Chief, diversity and campus security were among the topics discussed at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Illinois Student Senate candidate debate Thursday night.

Toward the end of the debate, each of the candidates present – except Ramsen Zacharia, freshman in LAS, who left early and did not participate in discussion of these topics – expressed his views, which were on both sides of the spectrum.

“Two of the biggest issues we have facing us today are cultural diversity and funding,” said Chris Boyer, junior in LAS and a current senator. “The reason we got rid of the Chief is because we were hurting our cultural diversity and funding.”

The candidates discussed both the referendum to be voted on Feb. 26 and 27, and the other candidates’ various positions.

Ben Jarrett, junior in LAS, said one idea is to bring in a new mascot after asking the students what they want. He added that University alumni would need a say in the matter as well.

The candidates also discussed campus safety, which has been a hot issue in the wake of last week’s NIU shootings and numerous sexual assaults last semester.

Maria Magginas, junior in LAS, said the University needs to test its new texting system because sending out 40,000 text messages at one time could prove to be problematic. She also said there need to be emergency buttons in old classrooms on campus.

Andy Colgan, sophomore in LAS, said although this is a safe campus, police patrolling should not be subpar. He said the Illinois Student Senate should step up its efforts to get its voice heard on the issue.

While present, Zacharia also brought up the issue of residence hall security. He said it is very easy to sneak into the halls and the issue needs to be addressed.

Diversity was also an issue discussed during the debate. Many of the candidates expressed their concern for the lack of diversity education at the University.

“We need to do this through education,” Jarrett said. “We need to educate people about different ethnicities.”

Boyer took the topic of diversity in another direction, citing the failure of Illinites.

“We need to accept that Illinites was a complete failure,” he said. “It was designed to take people out of the bars and to reduce incidents in the dorms. It did not do that.”

LAS-D candidates in debate

Hanno Becker, Chris Boyer, Andy Colgan, Kaitlyn Hastings, Ben Jarrett, Maria Magginas, Max McClintock, Trenton Morrow, Carlos Daniel Rosa, Ramsen Zacharia