SA : Battle for presidency heats up
Most people wouldn’t call Wednesday night’s event at Hendricks Chapel a true debate.
However, sophomore Larry Seivert, who also attended the debate, is now opposing Goldenberg. His late entry to the race disqualified him from Wednesday’s debate and will keep his name off the official ballot. He will run as a write-in candidate.
Forgenie continues to run unopposed, so there was no actual ‘debating’ Wednesday.
In an interview afterward, Goldenberg acknowledged that Seivert, one of her former close aides in SA, is now running against her.
‘Our policies are different, and I respect that,’ Goldenberg said. ‘I would have respected that more before I gave him everything.’
Seivert, chair of the Committee on University Affairs, said he was disappointed by the debate’s turnout. Seivert was one of Goldenberg’s closest campaign aides until early this week, when he dropped out due to ideological differences.
‘I’m glad I had more people at my press conference announcing my candidacy than were here tonight,’ said Seivert, who declared his candidacy at a press conference in Schine Student Center earlier Wednesday.
SA President Ryan Kelly, who did not attend the debate, is not endorsing either candidate in the race. During an interview, he said he wouldn’t call Seivert an ‘official candidate,’ but made it clear that his allegiances were torn because both served in his administration.
He said the late addition of Seivert to the race surprised SA leadership. Yet he thinks a second candidate will make the process more competitive.
‘If students feel they need a change, they can get one,’ Kelly said. ‘People do have options.’
When asked if he encouraged Seivert to run in order to increase competition, Kelly said it was an ‘interesting’ suggestion, but ‘very inaccurate.’
When asked if he thought that his refusal to endorse either candidate would affect the current SA session, Kelly said ‘sometimes at the end it does affect (working relationships), but we’re trying to not let it.’
Political competition is always a positive to a campaign, Goldenberg said.
‘Competition will prove that I deserve this position,’ she said. ‘It’s not awarded to anyone.’
And despite her being the only official candidate, Goldenberg used the ‘debate’ to introduce her platform to the small crowd that made its way to the chapel on the chilly November evening.
Goldenberg, current SA vice president, said she wants to increase collaboration between Syracuse Common Council and SA, so that issues such as off-campus housing can be resolved more efficiently.
She also said she wants to foster interaction among student groups through social events and become accessible through an ‘open door’ office policy. She is finalizing plans to create an Orange Escape event next semester, where a free bus will be provided to SU students bringing them to Lake Placid to partake in winter recreation.
In an interview and unofficial response afterward, Seivert said his core agenda is to ensure all voices are heard on campus.
‘There are larger needs facing the students than a possible skiing trip,’ he said.
Goldenberg said afterward that she wants to both build on Kelly’s goals as well as introduce some of her own.
‘Ryan set a lot of high goals,’ Goldenberg said. ‘Those goals will take a long time to accomplish. But that doesn’t mean they are worth giving up.’
Kelly said both Goldenberg and Seivert had important jobs in his cabinet and that he worked closely with both. He doesn’t want students to be influenced by his endorsement.
‘I want the students to decide, I don’t want it to be me,’ he said. ‘I’m choosing to be hands off.’
Kelly admitted that SA is concerned about generating the 10 percent turnout needed for the election to be legitimate via a rule in its constitution.
Forgenie, the sole comptroller candidate, also fielded questions ranging from her experience on SA’s Finance Board, because if elected comptroller, she would not be able to fund every group on campus.
‘We try to be as unbiased as we can in deciding which groups can receive funding,’ she said. ‘But there still are ultimately more groups than we can ultimately fund.’
Forgenie said she does not think University Union needs its own budgetary policies – a contentious issue for past sessions of SA.
She recognized previous troubles and said the financial relationship between SA and UU is settled, and that past issues such as Block Party funding have been properly worked out.
Forgenie also wants to increase dialogue between Finance Board and the rest of the SA assembly.
Panelists for the event included Heather Collura, executive editor of the Student Voice; Spencer Raymond, Citrus TV representative; and Melanie Hicken, staff writer for The Daily Orange.
Asst. news editor Matt Reilly contributed to this story.
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