Richmond College Student Government Association presidential candidates Evan Harris and Colin Billings debated on Monday night at The Pier in Tyler Haynes Commons.
The debate leads to the Tuesday's election for RCSGA president. There were five planned questions for the candidates, both juniors, to answer which took about 30 minutes to answer. Afterward, students from the audience asked their own questions.
Billings, an ROTC cadet, spoke on his work with the campus police department and interests in fostering inter-faith dialogues on campus. Billings is currently vice president of administration within senate, and he is also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Harris currently works as the junior class president. He has been on senate for three years, and he spoke on his commitment to making the voices of minority groups heard on campus.
Senior Will Gordon, the current president of RCSGA, said the debate was important because you could get a feel for the platform of the candidates.
Gordon said the debate last year had been a little nerve-racking.
"We didn't have nearly the attendance that we're going to have this year I hope," he said. "Last year, I think there were 10 people total that showed up so bringing it out here in The Pier, we thought would make it more public."
About 40 students came to watch the debate.
"I don't necessarily know who I would vote for at this point," senior senate member Dwayne Foster said. "They're good guys I would put in charge; it will be a tough decision."
Foster said the debate would determine whom he would vote for as president of Richmond College.
"I want to know what they will do for smaller groups on campus so that they can be better represented," he said.
He also said he was interested in parking tickets because he had received four this semester. "The basketball situation is very hectic because I get off of work at five," he said. "Then your car has to be moved out the parking lot by five, so I have a ticket by the time I get there."
The candidates spoke on future plans they would promote as president of RCSGA. Harris said he would begin a mentoring program between alumni and new students.
"Coming here, I really didn't know that much about college," Harris said. "I didn't even know what an internship was. That's why I want every student who comes here to feel comfortable, so they know what is going on."
Harris also said he would implement a community service option for students to pay their parking tickets.
"If you have the money, pay away," he said, "but if you don't, get back in the community, work in a soup kitchen, help out and I'm going to make that possible for kids that really need it."
Billings said he would create a student-leader committee to hear parking ticket appeals, instead of the one student who was currently on the committee.
"I know that I've appealed many tickets and haven't had any success with that," he said. Having a student-leader committee was a more realistic solution to parking tickets, Billings said.
Billings also proposed creating a late-night option for buying food on campus, which would be built with the future apartment complex over the intramural fields.
"Right now, the closest location for dining for the UFA is D-hall or ETC, and D-hall is not open past eight o'clock," he said.
Contact reporter Keon Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org