Candidates come under attack during debate

Lee Hall was packed for the annual presidential debate Tuesday. The purpose of the debate was to give candidates vying for Student Government Association and class officer positions a chance to state their positions and why voting for them would be beneficial.

Keenan Williams, 22, a senior business student from Philadelphia, moderated the event held at 6 p.m.

Senator, electoral commission and class office candidates were allotted one minute to give an introduction and explain their platform. Shortly after, the candidates running for student body president and vice president took the stage.

There are two parties vying for president and vice president of SGA.

Ticket A&M consists of Andrew Collins, 21, a senior business student from Atlanta, and his running mate Mellori Lumpkin, 20, a junior business student from Bainbridge, Ga.

The Franklin and Ardis Administration ticket consists of Gallop Franklin, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Tallahassee, and Dominick Ardis, 20, a junior health care management student from Tallahassee.

Williams explained the rules and how points would be assessed. Questions came from both the electoral commission and the audience.

The electoral commission asked several questions to both tickets to test their knowledge about the duties of SGA president, vice president and the cabinet.

A segment of the debate was open for questions from students in the audience. The students were straight to the point with their questions and some were a bit aggressive.

Students asked the candidates about Activity and Service fees and how they expect to improve the University’s budget. Students also asked each candidate how they felt about the opposing campaign and the University’s accreditation issues.

Students brought up recent allegations of Lumpkin spending unnecessary money on couches and carpet for SGA and Franklin’s and Ardis’ pre-campaigning. Each ticket was able to defend themselves.

Some students said the debate was just and equal.

“The debate was extremely fair,” said freshman Sen. Garreth Hubbard, 18, an animal science student from Georgia. “Each ticket was given an opportunity to relay their messages and to get their platforms across. This debate gave the student body a chance to really decide whom they’re going to vote for. Both tickets did great.”

Others felt the debate was balanced, but only to a certain extent.

“Some questions were phrased to attack certain tickets,” said Joseph Agboola, 18, a freshman graphic design student from London. “Besides the attacks to certain tickets, the debate was spectacular.”

Agboola said enjoyed the various topics discussed by both tickets.

“Being that this was my first debate in college, it was wonderful to see the tickets’ rebuttal against each other and so forth,” Agboola said.

Both tickets said the debate gave them a chance to speak directly to the student body. Lumpkin said the debate was adequate and the questions were distributed equally.

“The debate gave me an opportunity to showcase that I can get the job done and I am a very knowledgeable candidate,” she said. “I have plans for the student body and its important for the students to know that I have all those qualities and knowledge needed to be a great vice president.”

However, Franklin expressed his concerns of the debate being biased.

“Our goal was to hold our weight in this debate, and I know we kept it,” he said. “The debate was biased at some points and we were the attacked to most questions, but overall we held our weight and delivered.”