By Zainab Iqbal
Published: April 10th, 2019
The Excelsior’s rival paper, The Kingsman, is getting set to host the first USG presidential debate this week.
Currently, there are three tickets on the ballot: President of Young Progressives of America (YPA) Carlos Jesus Calzadilla-Palacio with running mate Nailah Pressley, who’s the vice president of WBCR; former CLAS representative Hamza Khilji with running mate Zain Qureshi, who’s a part of the B.A.-M.D. Program; and CLAS speaker Alyssa Taylor with running mate Ethan Milich, who’s the current CLAS deputy speaker.
“I feel very passionate about having a debate. I think that campaigning on social media is effective, but it is difficult for voters to properly gauge who they support,” Khilji said. “There’s a lot of limits for expressing your campaign on social media, but in person, you can get directly to the point and explain your logic and reasoning.”
Khilji believes a debate would be particularly helpful if “it were allowed to run in a manner where candidates had an opportunity to respond to each other’s platforms instead of just answering solely on their respective platforms and moving on.”
“The value of rebuttals is to be able to show why a certain issue may not be as relevant as it sounds and to see if it is even necessary in the first place. Moreover, it tests the ability of the candidates to respond to unexpected questions and shows their temperament as leaders,” Khilji said. “I think currently, while everyone is campaigning, it is hard to decide what the right choice may be. It also provides an opportunity to engage the voting public in a way that social media doesn’t. I think that through the debates and through cross-examinations, it will be easier for voters to decide what platform is best and necessary for the campus.”
Calzadilla-Palacio is also very excited about the debate and is “absolutely not nervous.”
“The debate is extremely necessary for students to be able to listen to candidates running and to be informed about real issues faced on campus. I am very excited to speak to students about my vision that is very different from everyone else’s.”
“Students essentially have two choices: real change or same old, same old,” Calzadilla-Palacio said. “This is a great opportunity for our campaign to address serious issues happening on campus from crumbling infrastructure to tuition increase. But also, to talk about making this a fun campus and increasing school spirit.”
If Calzadilla-Palacio wins the ticket, he will resign from the YPA campus e-board because “that is the ethical thing to do.” On the YPA national level, he will make the decision after the election and “will make changes if necessary.”
“My first and number one priority is serving Brooklyn College students and representing them,” Calzadilla-Palacio.
Taylor and Milich, in contrast to the other candidates, feel a debate isn’t beneficial. As of now, it is unclear whether or not they will attend the debate because of scheduling conflicts.
“While we understand in theory the benefits of a debate, we feel that in the current climate at Brooklyn College, it gets limited exposure. We believe that there are many other ways to use that time to promote each candidate and their platform,” they said in a joint statement. “In addition, one hour is a limited amount of time to fully grasp the concepts that need to be addressed. We understand the interest in building this tradition here at Brooklyn College, but do not believe that it will reach a majority of the 14,000+ Undergraduate Students that have a vote in this coming election.”
“We trust that the undergraduate students of Brooklyn College will see our approachability as we encourage any feedback or criticism concerning our roles as student leaders over the past year and how we can represent them more in the future.”
The Kingsman’s editor-in-chief Quiara Vasquez said she’s very excited to be hosting the debate.
“The election this year is very competitive,” Vasquez said. “There are three tickets and they all represent very different groups of students and are all equally qualified.”
The debate is scheduled for Thursday, April 11 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm in the SUBO penthouse.