Brian’s Delayed Liveblog: The President’s Debate

What up everyone. It’s quarter after 6, and I’m at the President’s debate at CSI! Did I miss anything fun and exciting?

So far since I’ve been here, I’ve heard Jeremy going after Bijan quite a bit. Also: where’s Omar??

Liveblog begins NOW

6:17 I see from AMS Confidential’s twitter that Omar said he has an “equally important meeting” to be at, which he’ll tell us about later. Riiiiiiight.

6:19 A question on tuition…Jeremy is emphasizing student loan reform as a short term goal, because action on tuition is unlikely to get results any time soon. Michael also focuses on loan reform. I agree with this approach, but  I wish Omar was here! Very disappointed that this is an Omar-less debate, so much less interesting.

6:21 Jeremy is bringing up tuition fees in the 1930s to show how much more expensive education is today than it was 70 years ago. I think it would be much more effective to talk about tuition at a more recent time…but he still speaks well on it.

6:23 The moderator is Azim Wazeer, sworn enemy of the Vanguard.

6:24 Next question is on the referendum. Michael talks about communication…that students need to know more about what the AMS is doing. This is essentially his biggest speaking point on every subject. I’ve heard lots of criticism that he needs to widen his platform, it can’t just be the same thing over and over again.

6:30 Sigh…the question now is about whether students know enough about what the AMS provides in order to justify giving it more money. Michael is talking about going through consultations and such. “Who are we to say what’s good for students?” I don’t think students in general have a problem with the AMS, and I think if you hold a referendum with the U-Pass referendum and ask for a few more dollars, you’ll get it. I don’t think that spending a long time on a public relations campaign before the referendum is going to be worth the time; Jeremy gets that, I don’t think Michael does.

6:34 The question on where to cut things from the budget if the referendum fails is pointless, although I guess it’s a standard debate question. You are never going to be able to cut enough money to make up the deficit. If the referendum doesn’t pass this year, you have to pass it next year. If the AMS does not get a referendum passed in the next couple years, it will go bankrupt and die (unless the businesses come up huge.)

6:36 Jeremy is right. AMS executives are already underpaid. Talking about cutting money from the exec portfolio as a “show of good faith” is dumb. It won’t fix the deficit, and not enough people will notice to make it symbolically worth while. JUST GET THE REFERENDUM PASSED

6:38 Both of these guys speak well. It’s a good debate, but very wonky and inside baseball. Any “regular Joe” student who shows up here will be bored out of their minds. I wish Omar was here.

6:41 Jeremy just said exactly what I said at 6:34. JEREMY GETS IT, FOLKS. Michael doesn’t, at least on the budget, and neither does Azim, I suspect, because he keeps asking questions about this.

6:44 I hope I get to ask a question. I’ve got a good question.

6:45 Azim asks a question about the “PR Gaffe” of renovating the office. For fuck’s sakes, it was $5,000 from a capital expenditures budget. As Jeremy says, the offices looked like shit before. Nobody cares about this so-called PR Gaffe except for AMS nerds–can you call something a PR gaffe if nobody even knows about it?

Stop asking questions about relatively small expenditures that have no real impact on the deficit anyway.

6:48 “How can the AMS unite students when issues arise that divide campus?” This question is related to the Gaza issue. You can’t; you just try and make a responsible, informed decision using a democratic vote on council. That’s called representative democracy.

6:52 Jeremy says essentially what I said. Michael goes after Jeremy for being too silent (he goes after all councilors for being too silent), argues that council should have tried to find a compromise position. Yeesh, there was no compromise position. No matter what was passed, people were going to be furious.

6:53 Michael says that we should have sent the money to scholarships or something. Look, I essentially agree, but if you think that was going to make the SPHR and SJC people happy, you weren’t paying attention.

6:55 Jeremy attacks the SJC for how they’re using the fees they get from students, says they need to be used on campus.

6:57 GOD I WISH OMAR WAS HERE. Talking about the role of resource groups now.

6:58 Jeremy says that there is no way the Resource Groups are autonomous from council; that’s the whole reason why we created them and give them fees from all students. I agree completely; I think Michael does too, but he doesn’t know as much about it as Jeremy does.

6:59 Michael goes back to communication. Sigh…I understand that students need to know more about what student government does, but look, most students just are never going to care. If students do care, they can find out fairly easily. They only pay $35 a year to the AMS. They hardly even notice.

7:00 Jeremy says that since mandatory student fees go to the resource groups, there needs to be better mechanisms in place to make them accountable to students and council. The reason why things have gotten to this stage is because council has basically just left them alone, and that’s a mistake. Agreed, agreed, agreed.

7:02 Both of these guys are smart, thoughtful, well-spoken. I’ll vote for Jeremy, but I like Michael, and I hope if he doesn’t win that he stays involved and helps the AMS somehow.

7:04 Jeremy says that if he was ever gagged on an issue, he would just resign because he’d clearly not the President anymore.

7:09 I’m hungry.

7:13 They have been talking about governance issues. Neither of them seem to be very opposed on this ground, but after working as VP External, Jeremy just has so much knowledge on this issue that Michael’s in tough to keep up. He’s doing alright though.

7:17 Oh God…when asked what they’d do if they didn’t win, Michael said he would just stay uninvolved and maybe start a business. TERRIBLE ANSWER, although at least honest. Jeremy committed to helping the referendum.

7:28 I went to the bathroom and I’m so hungry that it’s hard to pay attention, but it was pretty awesome when Jeremy’s girlfriend attacked Michael for his previous comments about women.

7:32 Oh thank God, there’s refreshments. I’ll post final thoughts about this debate in a separate post.

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