OUSC presidential debate last event before voting

Candidates presented their visions for a better OU at the Oakland University Student Congress presidential debate.

Tim Brown and Zack Thomas both tried to convince an audience in Banquet Room A that they have what it takes to be the voice of OU’s student body.

Brown said that he wants to be OUSC president because OU has given him so much in three years.

“It’s time for me to give back,” Brown said.

Thomas said he wants to serve students first.

Both candidates agreed that the job of the president is to bring to light the needs of students.

“They are … going to represent unique needs of every unique student,” Thomas said.

Brown added that the president bridges the gap between administration and students in order for administration to hear student concerns. Brown said that a connection between himself and the administration already exists, thanks to his involvement on campus and through Student Congress Executive Board.

“There will be no ‘hey, nice to meet you,’” he said.

Thomas said that he has already made connections as well through the executive team at OUSC.

However, he also said that a difference in the candidates’ platforms is that he believes Brown plans on working for, rather than with, administration. Thomas said he wants to work with administration while standing up for students and encouraging transparency.

In a rebuttal, Brown said OUSC has to approach the administration in a friendly manner. Aggression is not effective.

However, Thomas replied that administration doesn’t always like to work with OUSC and reminded students of the COO hiring, tuition increase and board of trustees and administration trip to Florida.

As for strengths and weaknesses, both candidates said that their weakness is putting too much on their plates. Brown said that his greatest strength is his ability to build relationships with people as soon as he meets them. Thomas said that his is that he’s available, open to ideas and wants to help others.

Current OUSC president Nick Walter spoke about the significance of the presidential debate and position.

“[The president] is 21,000 voices in one person,” Walter said.

Walter said he thinks that both candidates are excellent choices, so a lot of who will be elected will be based on the platform.

However, there was no specific question about platforms.

According to Brown’s website, he and vice presidential candidate Griffin DiMaggio are pushing for increased spirit, especially through athletic events; renovations, including the library, Varner Hall and the OC; better safety, and continuing some OUSC’s current programs. For more details, visit allinforou2016.com/index.html.

According to Thomas’ website, Thomas and vice presidential candidate Anders Engnell want a parking solution, increased administrative transparency, social justice on campus, to get OU students involved in the nation’s political process and to change OUSC internal operations and how it interacts with students. For more details, visit servingstudentsfirst.com.

Voting opens Monday, March 14 at 8 a.m. and closes Friday, March 18 at 11 p.m. Students can vote online at oakland.edu/voteou.