With the Student Senate election debate less than two weeks away, the senate considered Friday whether to find a group other than The Channels to moderate it.
The Channels had already accepted a formal invitation to moderate the debate on Thursday, March 22, and has already spent over a week planning the debate format and deciding what questions the candidates should be asked. The debate is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 19, though it was originally scheduled to take place April 12.
The discussion came up after some senators heard that the questions from last year’s debate were “politically driven questions” rather than “questions about the actual campus.”
The Channels News Editor Daniel Wallace reached out to Joshua Villanueva, student senate president, and Joshua Oken, vice president of internal affairs, after the meeting and asked for examples of questions that would be “less political” and more “community-based,” but neither provided specific examples of what questions they had in mind. However, both agreed to potentially send the Channels specific examples of such questions in the near future. Oken also offered to vet the questions through their election committee, which will consist of current student senate members who are not running for office.
Villanueva had reached out to The Channels via email March 15 asking whether reporters could be sent to moderate the debate, but until their Friday meeting, the senate had not discussed this year’s debate in any of their meetings this semester.
Student Advocate Krystle Farmer said she didn’t like how the debates had gone last year, saying that “doing it like that” again this year could scare away students.
“We should ask students actual questions about SBCC,” Farmer said. “I think they took it way too seriously last year.”
“I think the direction we should take these debates into is a more community-based debate because that’s really how our government is run,” Oken said. “I think it would be more inviting to students too, and it would help them realize who these campaigners are and what their platforms are in a much less aggressive way.”
After Oken suggested having a “student of the people” moderate the debate rather than an organization, multiple names and groups on campus were suggested by senators such as people from the Inter Club Council or Chelsea Lancaster of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS).
In the end, no action was taken to change the moderators of the debate.
On Thursday, April 5, the senate sent an email campus-wide announcing that the deadline to submit applications to run for a senate position was extended by a week to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 12. The senate extended the application period deadline to encourage more people to apply for a position.