The Collegian
Friday, May 29, 2020

RCSGA hosts debate before presidential election

<p>Candidate Liam McGrinder (left), current RCSGA president Tyler York and candidate Mike Laposta participated in a debate preceding the RCSGA presidential election.</p>

Candidate Liam McGrinder (left), current RCSGA president Tyler York and candidate Mike Laposta participated in a debate preceding the RCSGA presidential election.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct a direct quote from Liam McGrinder, as well as include more context regarding the quote.  

The Richmond College Student Government Association (RCSGA) held a presidential debate Monday night in preparation for Tuesday’s election in which candidates explained their main running points and how they would make campus more inclusive.

Moderator and outgoing president, Tyler York, pressed candidates Liam McGrinder and Mike Laposata, both juniors, on their views of the ongoing and prevalent issues currently affecting students and the campus as a whole. 

Both candidates explained their personal ideas of how to fix problems on campus.

McGrinder’s goals involve the creation of “reading periods" in which students would have extra time to study between the end of classes and finals week, as well as more flexible meal plans and the creation of a more inclusive social scene with fewer restrictions for on-campus events. 

“Right now we go from this brutal last week of classes, where lab reports, final projects, final papers and then immediately the following Monday morning [final exams],” said McGrinder. “A weekend is not enough time to recover from that week.”

McGrinder commented that many of the university’s peer institutions already have reading weeks. 

Laposata focused mainly on the inclusivity within campus. His policies involve increased interaction, including a constitutionally mandated merger, with Westhampton College Government Association (WCGA) and normalization of the relationship between the student governments and the faculty senate.

Both candidates agreed that inclusivity is an issue within the campus’ social scene. 

Following York’s moderation, the candidates received questions from the audience. One was what the candidates' biggest mistakes during their college career had been.

McGrinder, who was arrested and charged with vandalism, drunkenness in public and unlawful entry last spring, responded with his description of the event. Saying he was glad the question had been asked, McGrinder spoke about his regret and remorse.

"A little over a year ago, I got myself into really big trouble, he said. "I made some really irresponsible decisions involving going out a night I shouldn't have and involving drinking. And I got really drunk, and I actually ended up leaving the party I was in and going back to what I thought was my friend's door. And I ended up getting arrested for damaging the door and trespassing."

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McGrinder took responsibility for the incident and accepted the consequences of his actions, he said. He added that he did not want to waste this second chance, and that the RCSGA president position was a great way to create a strong support system for students on campus; something McGrinder wanted to create after having received support from his friends following the aftermath of his arrest, he said.

Laposata, who is also president of the Arab Club, said his biggest mistake was failing to foster engagement.

“We didn’t have the strongest support," Laposata said. "We’re getting there, but it took a lot of missteps.” 

Richmond College elections begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, and end at 8 p.m. All undergraduate members of Richmond College are eligible to vote here.

Contact news writer Ben Wasserstein at ben.wassterstein@richmond.edu.

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