VP candidates debate policy

The candidates for Vice President for Organizations (VPO) and Vice President for Finance (VPF) debated in Rashid Auditorium last Tuesday. The debates, which were more lightly attended than Monday’s student body president and vice president debates, were held by the Elections Board and The Tartan. WRCT and cmuTV sponsored and broadcast the debates.

Junior lighting design major and longtime member of student government Jon Mark is running unopposed in the race for the position of VPF. “I understand that, pending the greatest write-in campaign in history, this is pretty much in the bag for me, but I feel I should be held to the same standards as other politicians,” Mark said.

The key points Mark made in his platform were a 20 percent increase in the student activities fee, raising it from $95 to about $114, and encouraging resource sharing between similar clubs when merging is not possible. He also said that he would like to provide audits to any club that makes a reasonable request, and make the value and power of the position of VPF more readily apparent so the position may attract future contenders.

After Mark finished answering audience questions, sophomore electric and computer engineering major Alyssa Danesh and sophomore business administration and decision science double major Rishi Patel took the stage. Danesh and Patel are campaigning for the position of VPO, a position within student government which works alongside the VPF to manage student organizations on campus.

“We don’t have enough money or space,” Patel said in his opening statement. “Raising the [student activities fee] should be a last resort.” Patel believes that before raising the fee, three actions need to be taken by the VPO: Encouraging campus organizations to appeal to their alumni for additional funds; promoting collaboration between related organizations through more meetings; and increasing efficiency by making students aware of CollegiateLink, a service which will soon replace OrgTracker and BudgetTracker.

Danesh said her focus as VPO would be on creating a third tier of organizations with official campus recognition but no funding, and creating a wiki with information on the forms needed to start and run a campus organization. She said that she would make clarity the overall goal of her term. Danesh cited her experience as the Committee on Student Organizations’ chair of recognition this past term.
Voting for the VPO and VPF positions began on Saturday and will close on Tuesday.