On Sunday night in the Vanderslice Cabaret Room, six pairs of UGBC presidential candidates — Russell Simons, MCAS ’17 and Meredith McCaffrey, MCAS ’17, Nikita Patel, CSOM ’17, and Joseph Arquillo, LSOE ’17, Ryan Fairhurst, MCAS ’17, and Charlie Butrico, MCAS ’18, Andrew Meck, MCAS ’18, and Jonathan Barbosa, LSOE ’18, Matthew Ulrich, MCAS ’17, and John Miotti, MCAS ’17, and Anthony Perasso, LSOE ’17, and Rachel Loos, MCAS ’18 — sat down to answer voters’ questions.
Organized into five rounds of student submitted questions and one final round with one question, the debate lasted for approximately an hour. Questions included inquiries about the arts, environmental sustainability, athletic relations, inclusivity, LGBTQ issues, handicap accessibility, mental health, transition, religion, and alcohol.
The most telling question in the debate was the last one, which asked candidates to identify the single biggest issue they wanted to address on campus. Each pair had a minute and a half to answer the question.
Perasso and Loos answered first, citing mental health as their main focus. “The counseling center is very understaffed,” the pair stated. “[We would] push for BC to hire another counselor.” Though the pair joked its way throughout the entirety of the debate, it spoke sincerely for its final question.
Simons and McCaffrey answered next, mentioning that collaboration was the focal point of their campaign. “[We] believe there is a lot of untapped potential at Boston College,” the pair said. “Our mission going forward is making sure that students are collaborating…change only happens when you have a united student voice.”
Ulrich and Miotti followed, noting that morale was their biggest issue. The team referred to its slogan, “Hype Up the Heights.” “Getting school spirit up in general is the goal of our entire campaign,” the pair said. “For us, the biggest thing is community.”
Arquillo and Patel pointed toward student life. “The biggest issue we see is student life…[we] want all freshmen coming in to have access to a bunch of things.” Their list included mental health, how to report sexual assault, and many other pressing on-campus issues.
Fairhurst and Butrico mentioned effectiveness as the crux of their campaign. “Most people think that UGBC isn’t very effective at speaking for them,” the pair said. “If they don’t believe that UGBC is an effective body, then they’re not going to come to them with their problems.”
Meck and Barbosa spoke last, asserting that no one issue was the most important. “We simply don’t believe that one issue is bigger than another — that’s why our platform is really focused on being practical,” the pair declared. “UGBC is huge and we don’t have to focus on one specific thing.”
At the end of the debate, the candidates smiled and shook hands with each other, knowing that in just two days, the primaries would cut the competition in half.
Primary elections will take place on March 22 in order to narrow the field of candidates to three pairs.