Ravi Kaneriya, candidate for executive president in the Student Government Association (SGA) elections, criticized the platform of opponent Annelise Catanzaro at the candidate forum held April 12. He said her platform is “rhetoric” and full of “empty promises.”
Kaneriya, speaking for “reform over rhetoric,” additionally asserted that students do not care about SGA’s actions in passing bills, creating liaisons and other formal actions of the organization. “People need to see results,” he said. “We need to address the issues students care about.”
Catanzaro, admitting that her platform of building a foundation, building trust and building relationships “sounds flowery,” asserted that she does have “tangible goals.”
“I think I have a good idea of what people want,” she said.
Keith Jeronimus, also in the running for executive president, responded to Kaneriya’s allusion to students not caring about formal actions of SGA by saying, “I think that it is the opposite.”
Running on a platform of “efficiency and outreach,” he said that organizations understand the importance of liaisons since they often help them.
“We should do more surveys,” he said. “We should be more visible. Yes, it may seem that our bills are not useful.” But he said that if SGA had more influence on campus, students would recognize its formal actions more.
After the debate, there was a mixed reaction from students. They had differing opinions on what is the most pressing issue on campus and which candidate would be best to handle it.
Tom Chelchowski, senior sociology and management major, said that the most important issue is “the lack of involvement from the people (SGA) is supposed to be representing.”
He said that Jeronimus will do the best job of “bringing in fresh blood” and providing a “diverse outlook” to increase student participation in SGA.
Chris Civitarese, junior marketing major, said, “There isn’t really one single issue. The president just needs to represent the school as a whole. Annelise has been so involved that she would make the best president. She really knows the ins and outs of the campus.”
Paul Harris, BSU trustee, said, “It has nothing to do with experience. I see complacency as the most important issue in this election right now.”
Harris said that past presidents have been too passive in enacting change within SGA.
“The way I see it, Ravi won this debate tonight,” Harris said. “Ravi, with his system changes, that’s what I’m talking about.”
Jasmine Charlon and Erik Pasternack, the two candidates for executive vice president, also debated at the forum.
Pasternack said that SGA has lost too many members and said that he will work at increasing membership in SGA to make it stronger.
He said, “I promise you that I will work to my full potential and help everyone else to as well.”
Charlon said, “We need to make SGA a more proactive organization on campus.”
Agreeing with Pasternack on the issue of losing members, she said, “We need more manpower and dedication in the organization.”