OUSC holds Vice Presidential Debate, candidates discuss platforms

The 2013 Student Congress Vice Presidential Debate between Maria Arellano and Jibran Ahmed was held before a packed room in Gold Room A of the Oakland Center March 5.

WXOU adviser Christine Stover served as moderator for the debate. Candidates were given 90 seconds to answer each question, with 60 seconds for rebuttal. Two minutes each were given for opening and closing statements.

Arellano described what she and running mate Amera Fattah  bring to the table.

“Our platform is unique. We answer how and we answer why,” she said. “We have the passion, the experience and the drive for filling these positions.”

Ahmed stressed that all of his and running mate Brandon Hanna’s platform initiatives came from student suggestion.

“Our platform is 100 percent student-based,” Ahmed said. “Our platform really is for the students because it’s by the students.”

Following opening statements, candidates spent the next 45 minutes answering questions.

Candidates were first asked about the role served by the vice president.

Ahmed said it was critical to serve a support role.

“The job is not only to represent students but be the right hand man of the president,” he said. “OUSC is like a big machine and all of the parts must be running very, very smoothly.”

Arellano said the vice president must serve as a go-between.

“The job of a VP is to serve as a liaison between students and the administration,” she said. “The job is also to manage the executive board to make sure it runs smoothly.

“I think that with each individual within an org, I would love to sit down and listen to their ideas,” Ahmed said.

Arellano discussed realistic expectations and experience.

“I believe I can bring a sense of realism to the table,” she said. “I can tell them how to get things done. It’s good to be there, but sometimes people need more than that.”

Arellano and Ahmed were next asked what they would get out of this job.

“There’s personal growth that will long term benefit me,” she said. “This will be an excellent way to learn how to understand people and understand how an organization works.”

Ahmed said he’s grown quite a bit since becoming involved.

“When I came to OU as a freshman, I was a kid who was shy … as I got involved, I became more personable,” he said. “When I tell people about my experience, it gives me a satisfaction.”

Candidates were asked the biggest issue facing the university.

Ahmed feels it’s an issue of cultivating school spirit.

“The biggest issue is the lack of involvement within the entirety of the community,” he said. “One thing we were looking at was more BYOB tailgates.”

Arellano discussed their solution to the parking problem on campus.

“In our platform, we address this issue by putting together a transportation office,” she said. “We want to combine the Bike Share and Bear Bus into one.”

The candidates were then asked about ways to affect change at OU.

“It’s important to have a good relationship with the administration,” she said.

As the debate came to a close, Ahmed reminded students that their platform is based on student input, and Arellano said it is important to come with solutions.