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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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SBP candidates field questions on student services, diversity during Tuesday debate

Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

University studies major Robert McIntosh, economics senior Bobby Brooks, management information systems Kilian Bresnahan and junior supply chain management major Ben Ikwuagwu present their platforms and answer questions about their policies in order to inform students as to why they should be elected as Texas A&M’s next student body president.

The four candidates running for student body president lined a panel in a debate forum centered on questions submitted by fellow students Tuesday night.
Hosted by the Election Commission of Student Government Association, the debate took place in the MSC Flag Room. The discussion was moderated by Greg Fink, Class of 2008 and student development specialist at the Department of Student Activities. Throughout the four rounds of questioning, the participants were given two minutes to answer the inquiries pertaining not only to general topics, but to each specific campaign platform as well.
Candidates Robert McIntosh, Bobby Brooks, Kilian Bresnahan and Ben Ikwuagwu discussed their platforms and initiatives to lead the university for the 2017-2018 school year.
Because the candidate’s publicized campaigns on social media can only convey their goals to a certain extent, Fink said it’s important to listen to the potential student body presidents state their claims in person as well.
“Because their voice is more important than just what they have on their website, just what they have on their platform,” Fink said. “You finally get to know about their personality, you get to find out their passion, not just the words. And if you’re voting for someone, you want the whole picture, so you got the whole picture tonight.”
Business honors junior and SGA election commissioner Rachel Keathley said she was appreciative of the attendance, along with overall outcome of the debate.
“I’m really pleased with how it went. This seemed to be one of the higher attended debates in years past and I’m glad students came out to learn about the candidates,” Keathley said. “I think we had a fair distribution of questions, and that the candidates got to really display their platforms and ideas through their answers.”
Management junior Sam Alders said the candidate’s interpersonal communication with the student body for each respective campaign is important, and that he has witnessed each potential president grow in character throughout this process
“I think this event helps because you get to see the candidate’s faces themselves and you get to come away from this watching how they interact with one another and how they interact with the student body,” Alders said. “One thing that I will say … is that what you see here tonight is the culmination of two weeks spent diligently searching the students and searching out organizations across campus and you see people being stretched and shaped for the role better.”
According to McIntosh, a major aspect of his campaign is to provide students with a voice, which if elected, he plans to do by hosting walk in hours with SGA.
“I think that this is an unbelievable platform to impact people,” McIntosh said. “In life, we have a whole lot of platforms and we have to choose how we use them. I think the platform of student body president, I feel compelled to use that as a way to serve this campus and get to know people and I care deeply about our student body.”
Sports management junior and events manager for McIntosh’s campaign D.P. Lambert said McIntosh embodies the Aggie core values.
“I am supporting Robert because he upholds the character of a true leader by his humility, passion and leadership which is shown in his daily life,” Lambert said. “He genuinely expresses that to everyone he encounters and he desires to know more about people and who they are as Aggies.”
Regarding his platform, Brooks said his experience serving as the executive vice president in the MSC and passion for diversity and inclusion translated into what qualifies him for student body president.
“This is about more. This is about identifying those areas for improvement and making sure we get on those, and also making sure that we keep that high level of commitment, competency, knowledge and drive in the student body president position,” Brooks said. “To make sure that this university is in good hands and is capable of continuing on it’s current path to success next year.”
Recreation parks and tourism senior Alaina Smith supports Brook’s campaign because of his friendly and personable disposition and caring heart for others.
“Bobby is such a joy to be around consistently; he is one of the most genuine, warm, sincere people I have met at this university,” Smith said. “I’ve never heard him say a negative thing about another human being … He is just an incredible person, always happy to have a conversation, always has the best interest of everyone around him at heart.”
In terms of Bresnahan’s proposed policies, clear communication between SGA and the student body contributes as a significant factor to his aspirations.
“One thing I really want to focus on is transparency … We need to be able to account for all that lack of communication, and the main idea here is that I want to create a committee that’s sole purpose is communicating with all of you guys,” Bresnahan said. “A leader is a listener, a leader is somebody that puts their own needs behind somebody else’s, and a leader is a servant … I feel I can exemplify a lot of these qualities for student body president.”  
Nursing junior Caitlin Curran applauded Bresnahan for his hope to speak on behalf of other people.
“Kilian is probably the most passionate person I know about serving his community, whether that be in other aspects off campus or on campus,” Curran said. “Not only is he a leader but like he mentioned in his speech, he thinks a big part of leadership is listening so he’s very open to people coming up and talking about him and dealing with conflict in a healthy way so that people feel respected and their voices are still heard.”
Additionally, Ikwuagwu said he plans to stand for values such as emphasizing inclusion and reducing the stigma associated with mental disabilities.
“At this point, I think we can all agree that Texas A&M is one of the greatest universities in the country, but honestly, that’s not why I’m running for student body president. If A&M was perfect, I wouldn’t be on this stage,” Ikwuagwu said. “I want to be a changer of the status quo with this position. I want to offer new ideas, fresh ideas, ones that are critical for us to have on campus, but also ones that can possibly make an impact.”
Accounting senior Reid Akers said he admires the authenticity displayed in Ikwuagwu’s intentions.
“Ben, to me, just seems like he has the most genuine platform because something that Ben is always striving to do … He’s always finding ways to reach out to people that not necessarily are the main focal point, like the majority students,” Akers said. “He’s reaching out to everybody and to me, that’s something that’s really important.”
Voting for student elections will be open online at Feb. 23 and 24.

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