By Clayton Kelley
Many heated discussions such as campus diversity, gun safety, and student involvement were brought up at the 2016 Student Government debate.
Each candidate brought something new to the table and remained strongly convicted in enforcing their designated policies. The debate began with a face-off between Vice President candidates, Holly Pavlicek and Samantha Martinez.
Martinez said her focus as vice president would be to raise more attraction towards the Texas State athletics games and encourage Bobcats to become more involved with government and organizations.
“I think it’s important to increase the pride and overall support of other organizations, not necessarily just games,” Martinez said. “With as many students that we have and as many organizations we have, we should definitely encourage students to be involved with something. That will increase our pride and motivation to support each other.”
Pavlicek asked Martinez how she would increase game attendance and she suggested providing extra bus podcasts that broadcast the game for students.
Pavlicek’s main objectives as vice president would be to increase the number of University Police Department officers as well as educate students on gun safety in the wake of concealed carry. She also wants to find better ways for students to contact U.P.D by making a texting option available.
“Some students aren’t aware what campus carry is and I think it’s very important to keep (students) educated on this,” Pavlicek said. “With this new legislation, some students are feeling uncomfortable and having more U.P.D around will make students feel at ease.”
Pavlicek and Martinez both agreed that diversity among students is extremely important. This, along with other issues, became a recurring theme with Presidential candidates, Anthony Galo and Andrew Homann.
“We’re trying to get people to unite, rather than be divided,” Homann said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we have a lot of work to do.”He said one of the main goals him and his running mate, Martinez, plan to focus on is eliminating stereotypes in Multicultural Greek life.
“The stereotypes don’t necessarily exist like people think they do,” Martinez said.
Both candidates agreed that their differences represent how they will be enforcing their leadership. Homann said he wants to spend his time focusing on student involvement, while Martinez wants to change policies within the university. Homann wants to do this by increasing the pride and traditions among the students through organizational tailgating at the games.
Galo said Homann’s efforts at organizational tailgating sounds like something that should happen within the student involvement organization and that it is not relevant to student government.
“We are not accurately representing the students and that needs to change, we need to start putting their issues, their concerns, before anything else,” Galo said. “He’s running for the wrong office if he’s going to focus on involvement instead of real issues”
Issues Galo would like to tackle include bringing in additional funds for both gun safety and a “safe ride home” program, which will allow transportation to students who are under the influence.
“We have to face reality and let university and administration know that partying and drinking are just part of the college experience,” Galo said. “This ‘safe ride home’ program is long overdue.”
Homann said Galo’s idea of a “safe ride home” program sounds a lot like Uber and Texas State should not be wasting the university’s funding on things like this. Furthermore, Homann also argued that allocating resources towards additional UPD would not be a viable option.
“We need to be making progress with what we already have,” Homann said.
Both candidates agreed that taking additional steps in trying to amend the concealed carry law is not a good option and both agreed it is best to move forward. Galo said he wants to do this by putting more precautionary efforts in gun owners on campus. As a result, he wants to ensure that a list is recorded of all concealed handgun owners, however Galo failed to specify if the list would include all students, faculty and staff who are concealed gun owners.
“We’ll take measures to make sure everybody feels safe and comfortable on campus,” Galo said. “Just like if you’re out drinking a beer and you’re asked for id when you go into a bar.”
Homann said he disapproves with this idea because the likelihood of an attacker getting a gun legally is slim.
“It’s a noble idea to have a list of people who have a concealed handgun, but it will not accomplish much,” Homann said.
Galo said he is working with Stephan Prentice, associate director of parking services, in trying to reduce parking violation. The LBJ expansion was of high regard to both candidates. Homann wanted to extend this to George’s as well.
“I want to make George’s the living room of the University,” Homann said.
Gale said he believes it important to have someone with experience as student government president.
“Having this experience and knowing what’s going on the inside first will help reach out to students,” Galo said. “We need to get the word out there about student government, there’s people out there who are under-represented and we need to change that”
Homann said through his involvement with his fraternity and various other organizations, he understands what the student body wants and how to connect with them.