Candidates argue experience in final SGA debate

Amanda Sams

In Monday’s final face-off between Grant Cochran and Coresa Nancy Hogan, students tried to determine which of the two candidates would make a better Student Government Association president based on their answers to questions presented by moderator Dale Peterson.

“I think both candidates gave it their best effort, and I think each of them would genuinely try to make a difference unifying the campus,” said John Dugan, a sophomore majoring in biology. “But I think Cochran definitely has what it takes. Experience is what matters.”

However, Cedrick Alexander, a senior majoring in journalism, believes Hogan should win the election after listening to this debate.

“I feel our campus has been trapped in machine politics for far too long,” Alexander said. “Nancy represents a large portion of campus, and I think she should win solely because I believe in her platform.”

The debate began with organizer Joe Mahoney announcing that “the gloves are coming off.” Mahoney said one aspect that made this debate unique from previous debates was the “crossfire” section, where each candidate was allowed to ask the opposing candidate two questions.

Hogan took this opportunity to ask Cochran if he is endorsed by a political machine on campus.

“I have many supporters,” Cochran said. “Many of them come from the Greek community and the non-Greek community. I have no particular allegiance to any student or group of students. I do not favor any organization or group.”

Cochran said he will represent all students if he is elected president. He used one of his questions to ask Hogan what her most significant accomplishment was during her two months of SGA service.

“Student voice is what I stand for,” Hogan said.

She mentioned funding issues that came up as a part of the Financial Affairs Committee and how she plans to give money back to student organizations if elected president. Hogan also stood by her promise not to take a salary as president.

Cochran referenced his three years of SGA service in First Year Council, the senate and as vice president of External Affairs.

“Knowing the complexities and intricacies of SGA, I will better be able to guide my executive members and work with administrators throughout my term as president,” Cochran said.

Hogan countered that SGA is too complex in the first place.

“There is so much bureaucracy,” she said. “There are too many roadblocks that do not allow students to jump right in. I want it to be a one-step, easy process for anyone who wants to get involved”

She said if she is elected president, there will be no door on her office, and students will be able to walk right in with questions and concerns without first having to jump over hurdles of paperwork.

Cochran talked about the valuable experience he has gained over the past three years working for the SGA on projects such as the Women’s Political Initiative Lecture Series, opening up parking at the Student Recreation Center and registering students to vote.

Hogan countered by saying students who had worked under Cochran in External Affairs personally told her that he stepped in when the projects were completed and took credit without acknowledging the people who had done all of the “grunt work.”

“I took an active role in each of those projects and saw them through from start to finish,” Cochran responded.

The candidates’ closing statements urged voters to choose wisely when voting Tuesday. Cochran reiterated his experience and cited he was the most qualified candidate. Hogan challenged students to defy the status quo and vote for a less traditional SGA president who holds no allegiance to an underground society and owes no favors.

Hogan choked up a little at the end of her speech as she explained the impact she hopes to leave on this campus.

“Actions speak louder than words,” she said. “While my opponent has valid ideas, his past actions do not reflect his leadership. Together we can make changes on this campus we so desperately need.”

Cochran referenced his opponent’s potential, but said he has more than just potential.

“I firmly believe if you elect me as SGA president, you will see a vast difference from day one in the potential for leadership,” Cochran said.