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ISSUE 120 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 2/23/2007

Candidates Argue

By Stephanie Soucheray
News Editor

Friday, February 23, 2007

The St. Olaf Student Government Association's (SGA) elections were held this Thursday. Candidates for positions with the Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC), the Student Activities Committee (SAC), Student Alumni Association (SAA), as well as other organizations presented their platforms to the student body on Monday night in a candidate forum held in Viking Theater.

The presidential and vice presidential seats were the most contested race for the 2007-2008 school year. Tyler Hauger ‘08 and Ishanna Rambachan ‘08 ran for president and vice president respectively. The candidates ran on a platform of experience, proven dedication and involvement with SGA.

Opposing Hauger and Rambachan were Neil Hutton ‘08 and James Barnett ‘08. Hutton and Barnett are relative outsiders to SGA but emphasized this as a strong point in the debates on Monday. “We bring fresh air and fresh perspective,” Hutton said. “Because James and I are involved in arts, athletics and academics on campus, we’re connected to large part of the student body.”

Both sets of running mates talked about changes they would implement if elected president and vice president on Monday. Hutton and Barnett ran on a platform that emphasized inclusivity in SGA activities, as well as the creation of a Film Studies major.

Hauger and Rambachan want to see more student involvement in municipal matters and see more programs by SGA that prepare students for life post-graduation.

Karl Olson ‘08 and Maren Anderson ‘09 were also running for president and vice president but were eliminated after Tuesday’s primaries. Olson and Anderson argued for an extended Christmas break and the elimination of Ytterboe pod checks.

Hauger and Rambachan and Hutton and Barnett emphasized the need for more student involvement in SGA.

SGA, both Hauger and Hutton said, is here for the students and acts on student interest.

In other races, candidates talked frequently of a need to to use St. Olaf’s global focus to benefit SGA projects and organizations.

SAA candidate Katie Hellen ‘08 suggested connecting Oles studying or traveling abroad with alums living in those regions of the world. “This way homesick Oles can get a home-cooked meal and see how far Oles can go in the world,” Hellen said.

Hellen is running against Greta Fure ‘08 for chair of SAA.

Both SAC and Political Awareness Committee (PAC) chair races feature two veteran opponents. Keshia Hohenstein ‘08 a SAC veteran runs against first-year Kate Horvat. Horvat, in her speech, said that she would like to seek more student input when it comes to deciding about SAC-sponsored concerts and events.

Hohenstein also asked for more student input, as well as more communication between SAC and other student organizations in SGA, like the DCC. ”That way, we can more effectively plan events and reach more students,” Hohenstein said.

PAC candidates Erica Jaastad ‘08 and Laura Groggel ‘08 had different ideas for the future of the committee. Jaastad, a dead-center moderate, spoke of how she could bring balance and debate to the sometimes-polarizing organization. Groggel, the head of Amnesty International, spoke of a desire to bring more humanitarian-focused speakers to campus.

The DCC race is between Trisha Salkas ‘09 and Daniel Plunkett ‘10. Both candidates acknowledged that the DCC is not known by all students on campus.

Elections took place Thursday and the winners were announced Thursday night.

The Manitou Messenger will print election results next week.

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