• Jonathan Dusza

USA Presidential Candidates Debate

The candidates running to be president of the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) met Tuesday night in Montante Cultural Center to debate the issues surrounding Canisius.

The candidates — John Gross, Jahare Hudson and Carlo Mastrodonato — each sought to hammer their campaign planks, and between them, one agreement became clear: the need for greater transparency between USA and the rest of the campus. Something that each of the candidates touched upon was the problem of the status quo of USA, where meetings are behind closed doors and not well publicized.

“This election is about change,” Gross said; “change in our e-board, change in our government, change in our school.” Another candidate, Mastrodonato, said of the issue, “Frankly, we’re having a lot of conversations at this school, but they’re not open conversations. Everybody’s not invited to the table. … It’s our job to invite everyone to that conversation.”

Part of those efforts, according to Gross and Mastrodonato, is that President Stoute will be asked to come to every Senate meeting, in an effort to both bring more legitimacy to the Senate and connection between administration and students. Hudson said he would ask for administration to be at events throughout campus.

One of the pillars of achieving the goal of transparency, the candidates also agreed, is the need for increased communication between USA and campus clubs. One of Hudson’s goals is to “make sure that each of our club leaders know that they are supported and cared for by USA. Because if our club leaders don’t know that, then student engagement isn’t going anywhere.”

Beyond clubs and club leaders, the candidates also discussed how to build an inclusive community throughout the campus. Hudson stressed the importance of the role of the USA president, as well as senators, in being involved on campus, saying as a member of USA: “If I’m not showing up and being there when those students need us most, then how am I showing that I’m inclusive and I’m someone to talk to?” Hudson cited the fact that current members of USA tend not to show up to events, especially regarding diversity, and he pointed out how it is impossible to have an inclusive community if those in power make no effort.

Along with that, the candidates also touched upon the need for diversity in building an inclusive community. “I am not receiving a diverse education,” Mastrodonato stated, citing the problems that go along with that fact: “This is a really important debate that we have to have… as to how do we diversify our school more, especially our professors?”

In a time where Canisius is at a crossroads, with the new president coming in soon, this election is even more important than usual.


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