Debate shows Stangler deserves second term

Nearly every question in last Wednesday’s Minnesota Student Association presidential and vice presidential debate contained the word “how,” yet Joelle Stangler and Abeer Syedah were the only team to consistently answer it.
 
Stangler and Syedah, in fact, had two questions to answer after each prompt. All candidates were expected to cover what they intended to do; only Stangler and Syedah were expected to cover what they had already accomplished.
 
Re-establishing that they succeeded at both tasks would take far more space than I have in this letter, but I was stunned by just how specifically their plans were illustrated.
 
Opposing candidates, however, avoided the “how,” instead relying on two types of responses. The first was to clarify their understanding of and passion for the relevant problem, speaking not in terms of their plans, but merely their goals.
 
The second was to lament the lack of outsider perspectives in MSA. 
 
This is strange, because Henry Benson is the MSA Grants Director, Cameron Holl was a very visible MSA intern last year and Prahith Chakka was the Student
 
Senate Chair before he lost his bid for re-election last May.
 
The only person in the debate with legitimate claim to an outsider perspective was Chakka’s running mate, Devon Ley, who was afforded very little speaking time by his partner.
 
I would also like to note that I was very concerned when Benson warned MSA not to “crowd out other issues” in its focus on sexual assault, a serious topic that by any metric remains among the most important on any college campus.
 
After the debate, it was clear that Stangler and Syedah knew more about the University of Minnesota they hope to change by many orders of magnitude, and their next administration will hit the ground running. If the debate was at all indicative of potential, the pair has certainly earned your vote.