UGBC presidential and vice-presidential candidates debated critical issues on campus and within the student government on Sunday, Feb. 16.
About 100 campaign supporters and students converged to hear Nanci Fiore-Chettiar & Chris Marchese and Lucas Levine & Vance Vergara talk about some of the university's most pressing issues in a dimly-lit Vandy Cabaret Room. At center stage, though, the spotlight was quite literally on the two teams.
When asked about how UGBC can evolve on-campus discussions on socioeconomic status, Fiore-Chattier said that her platform outlined ways that students can save money outside of the obvious costs of tuition.
"We are trying to reduce the cost of being a student at BC," she said. "That means our iClicker rental program, our textbook exchange website and so many other things in our platform would be important to reducing cost for students."
Marchese added that BC Ignites sessions would also open dialogue regarding socioeconomic status and further expand opportunities for students to save money in everyday life.
Said Levine to the same question, posed by members of the UGBC Elections Committee: "The thing is, when you go to Boston College there is an assumption of wealth, and that is a very difficult thing for someone not coming from a wealthy background. I realize that [socioeconomic status] is something that hasn't been talked about in our platform."
Levine's personal touch to the answer is indicative of the relatable conversation he held during the debate. At several times during the debate, the Cabaret Room laughed at Vergara's quips and jokes. Every time a microphone failed to work, he had something to funny to say.
The centerpiece for their campaign is the slogan "Bringing UGBC Back to Earth," and you can sense such a sentiment in moments like those.
Levine also acknowledged that while socioeconomic status wasn't featured in his argument, he did have a concrete approach to the issue.
"These issues need to be talked about--I believe that we are spending a lot of money to go to Boston College," he said. "When you're paying $300 for your student activities fee, something needs to be done to fix that, and we need to know how and where the money goes."
After the Election Committee concluded their end of the debate, the floor was given to students in attendance who had prepared a question for the two teams. One student asked the two teams to name five on-campus cultural groups.
According to the structure of the debate, Fiore-Chattier was called on to answer first, and she responded with five organizations. When Levine and Vergara were told to name five additional groups, Levine responded honestly: "I won't B.S., here...I would have said the same five Nanci said, and to tell you I could name another five would be dishonest."
In a closing statement, Marchese remarked that Levine's approach on sexual assault in the Gavel's interview with Levine and Vergara revealed their inexperience.
"You can't just learn the issues--you have to know how students are affected by them," he said. "In their interview they talked about how they don't have a stance on sexual assault on campus, and I think that is a policy area where every person who wants to be a leader in UGBC needs to have a stance."
Levine clarified his views on the topic after the debate.
"I think that while the policy [on sexual assault] at Boston College reflects the law of the state of Massachusetts, it's unfortunate that other states don't have the same policy...I think the fact that you can't have consent when you are intoxicated at all leaves no outs for a perpetrator," he said.
UGBC elections for president and vice-president begin on Feb. 18 and run until Feb. 19.
Update: In a previous version of this article, Levine was misquoted in his question on sexual assault. The article reflects what was said in his interview after Sunday night's debate.