Story by Emma Wilson
Photo by Lauren Horsch
The Senate Executive debates were held Wednesday in Sussman Theatre and were moderated by Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Rachel Caufield. The debate featured the three candidates running for executive positions on the 27th session of Student Senate.
The candidates are all officially unopposed. Vice President of Student Life David Karaz is running to be student body president, Organizational Council Chair Natalie Larson is running for vice president of student activities and Technology Liaison Joey Gale is running for vice president of student life. Josh Duden, a first-year, is running against Gale as a write-in candidate.
Due to the Election Commission bylaws, Duden was unable to participate in Wednesday’s debate but did participate in the question and answer session at the Student Senate meeting on Thursday.
After her opening remarks, Caufield started the debate by asking each of the candidates how they hoped to get the student body more involved.
Gale said he would like to work towards eliminating the question of “what student senate does.” He plans to do that by providing students with a monthly video blog to help them understand more about what Senate is up to.
Larson argued that while keeping the student body informed is important to her, she would try to make sure that students had a better way to provide feedback to Senate and to make sure that Senate follows through with their requests.
Karaz said that he would push for senators to focus not on what Senate does to benefit them as a senator, but what they can do for the student body. Karaz emphasized his desire to get more people involved in the general elections for Student Senate so that it could fairly represent the student body.
Caufield continued the debate by asking the candidates about the unification of campus and how it might be improved. All of the candidates mentioned that they would like to see different organizations working together on projects more, which would also increase diversity.
Write-in candidate Duden claims that he can bring something new to the table.
“The 26th session did not do a bad job but it needs competition, new innovation and new perspectives,” Duden said.
Election Commission Chair Matt Van Hoeck said not being able to participate in the debates is a penalty for not meeting deadlines associated with the race. The election commission bylaws state this prohibits them from participating in “any election commission speaking events.”
Each candidate at the debate was asked why they felt they had earned the right to lead the student body next year.
“This is something that I’ve had to prove to students more particularly this week,” Karaz said. “Not that I have earned it, but that I have the ability and the passion to do it given the fact that I am unopposed in this election.”
“My passion and dedication to Drake University gives me the ability to be the best person for this position,” Larson said. “My involvement in Senate and SAB in the past, planning Relays has been a wonderful experience, getting to know the traditions and history of Drake and how we can improve and enhance them in the future is really something I plan to do next year.”
“We want to make students proud to be a Drake Bulldog,” Gale said. “I feel that by providing certain things and certain aspects and getting feedback and helping them, giving them the tools they need to succeed, there are unlimited possibilities open because of this.”
“Everyone running is working for unity,” Duden said. “But I have experience in a different intersection of activities which is what campus needs.”
Elections will be held at 12 a.m. Monday morning and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.