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Students support SGA debate

By D'Ann Dickson
On March 28, 2013

  • Taking it back to the roots. A dancer takes it back to the roots of Africa as she dances to the rhythms.

The student body questioned the Student Government Association presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2013-2014 school year at the presidential debate Tuesday night in the MSC Auditorium.
The audience responded positively to candidates who spoke on scholarship issues, prior experience, and equality among students and student organizations.
Due to the late arrival presidential candidate Brandon Davis, for reasons unknown, the vice presidential candidates introduced themselves first and proceeded with questioning.
Aaron Lavergne, Justin Warren and current SGA vice president Jarrick Brown responsed to questions regarding the lack of professors, strengthening SGA, and ensuring that the students will feel that SGA cares.
Many members of the audience especially resonated with Brown addressing the issue of student fees and how they are allocated as a foundational resolution to the lack of quality professors.
Brown said, "Students need to know what they are paying for and how it benefits them. We have to start there in order to address other issues."
Warren proposed a very popular point about the university's recent Washington, D.C. trip. He asked why students in SGA made up the majority of the group that attended Obama's second inauguration.
The two candidates running for the comptroller position, Natambria Lockett and Ivan Butler, also had an opportunity to introduce themselves and their platforms but did not participate in the debate.
All presidential candidates, Priscilla Barbour, Demario Lowe and Brandon Davis, seemed to receive approval from the audience.
They spoke on university President George Wright's 10-year plan to increase enrollment, the landfill, and the current financial strains on the student body.
The debate between the three seemed to be a battle of prior knowledge more than anything.
Barbour, current chief of staff, Lowe, SGA executive board member, and Davis, senator of environmental safety, spoke on what they have already researched, acted upon and fought for.
Davis said, "The PV HOPE landfill march and movement was OK, but it wasn't what it could've been. We have over 8,000 students here and we need to create one unified message. I want all students to recognize their power and create an atmosphere of love."
Lowe received a lot of participation by making motions that more students should be able to get more scholarships and other types of funding and that the student organizations need to become more unified and build a stronger community.
Barbour won the audience over after stating facts about the fee increases and what exactly they mean to the university.
"In speaking with Dr. Bradford, I learned that there would be no increases to housing next year. Sodexo has vowed more quality. In fact, Prairie View has the most economical meal plan among numerous other schools in Texas. The increases in cost shouldn't be seen as financial strain but beneficial gains," said Barbour.
The presidential and vice presidential candidates took the opportunity to address one another directly through the open forum question portion of the debate.
Warren questioned Brown's current vice presidential term saying that all the issues with the senate and professionalism were allowed to happen carelessly under his administration.
Two students from the audience targeted Lavergne directly regarding his qualifications and past accomplishments in SGA.
He listed some of the bills he has passed or is working on as senator of housing services including alarm systems in University Village and better television service.
He also mentioned a senator name badge bill that was vetoed.
As the only female candidate, Barbour was questioned about potentially being unqualified due to her gender.
Before being drowned out by the applause and cheers of the audience, she clearly said that being a woman has absolutely nothing to do with her qualifications.
She said, "The question is not in my femininity but in my integrity. It's a matter of honesty and selflessness."
Davis stunned the crowd by proclaiming he is the best candidate right now because he will do everything in his power to hear the needs of every single student and ensure they can get what they want and not what SGA thinks they want.
At the end of the night many students who had questions were not able to get them answered due to time constraints.
Voting will take place April 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Panthertracks. 

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