ASSU Executive Debate or Chappie Comedy Show?

If the goal of last night’s ASSU Executive debate was to inform voters, Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack’s distracting behavior ensured the event’s failure.  The debate, sponsored by *The Stanford Review, The Stanford Daily, *and Stanford in Government, did not provide an opportunity for candidates to explain their platforms.  Rather, the night turned into a comedy show featuring the Chappie slate, Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack.

Stanford Review‘s News Editor Tom Corrigan ’11 along with The Daily’s Editor in Chief Kamil Dada ’11 moderated the event and posed tough questions to the candidates.  Corrigan and Dada interrogated about issues such as ethical practices, coordination with legislative bodies like the Senate, and each slate’s plan for their cabinet.

Unfortunately, Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack, Bill Kemper ’11 and Josh Meisel ‘12, utilized this public opportunity to poke fun at the political process.

Although at times funny and engaging, Kemper and Meisel’s jokes and behavior detracted from the real goal of the evening: learning about the policies of the executive slates.

Their wisecracks made some members of the crowd laugh, while offending many others.  When asked why running for ASSU Executive, the slate responded, “our main issue is a week long Admit Weekend.”  Corrigan and Dada asked each slate to review the Gobaud administration, to which Kemper retorted, “I would’ve picked a running mate that didn’t get kicked out” (a reference to Jay de la Torre).

Other wisecracks from the evening included:

“A vote for Meisel is a vote for Red Bull”

“I’m not saying that I get more girls than Billy [Kemper], but I am saying I get better looking girls than Billy.”

“I think we should cut the funding [executive discretionary fund] and buy better athletes.”

These jokes would have been hilarious and provided great comic relief had Kemper and Meisel not been inconsiderate throughout the debate.  They talked over other slates, yelled at audience members and walked across the stage.  Their appearance gave the impression of oblivious drunkenness.

Although the other five slates tried to bring a feeling of legitimacy to the event, their best efforts failed.  None of the candidates were truly impressive or effectively differentiated themselves from the rest of the pack.

Guzman-Mahoney, comprised of Austin Guzman ’11 and Patrick Mahoney ‘11, focused on their “referendum of the ASSU,” but they mainly addressed issues of laptop theft, housing grievances, and minor in possessions.  According to Mahoney, “these issues are more important than whether the wellness room has enough bubbles.” The Wellness Room, a hot topic in The Review (as noted here and here), can be seen as a valid concern in the current ASSU, but Guzman-Mahoney could certainly find more pressing issues on campus than what they proposed.

Maloney’s attack on the Wellness Room put Angelina Cardona ’11 on the defensive, since she is a major proponent of the program and helped found the center.  Angelina Cardona and her running mate Kelsei Wharton ‘12 focused on using student groups as advocates for their policy.  Wharton proposed that ASSU Executives “use GAIA (Green Alliance for Innovative Action) as a model to create groups for other issues.”

Thom Scher ‘11 and Stephanie Werner ‘11 struggled to point out the subtle differences in policy between themselves and Cardona/Wharton.  Thom stated, “for us, it would be about the group coming to us and asking for their help.  It works from the bottom up.”

The No Rain campaign, comprised of Katherine Heflin ’11 and Daniel Leifer ‘10, at times ceded their allotted time to other groups in the campaign.  They attempted to bring up issues relating to everyday student life, like textbooks and accessibility for the disabled or injured.

Bakke and Peacock tried to use their time to highlight their experience in student government.  Bakke serves as head of the Nominations Committee, Peacock serves on the Graduate Student Council, and both had experience in student government at the undergraduate level.  They aim to “reduce spending, increase accountability in the way the executive spends its money, and empower VSOs.”  They mentioned that as the role of the executive expands, it is increasingly more difficult to focus on everyday yet important issues like academic advising.

Though most of the slates came across as experienced and competent, it was difficult to concentrate on the issues at hand due to constant interruptions from Meisel and Kemper. an already lackluster executive race , last night’s debate failed to provide a clear outlook on the policies of the different slates.

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