The two candidates for Student Association president debated Wednesday night in Maxwell Auditorium, and aimed most of their criticism at the university.
Hari Iyer, a finance major, and Jonathan Barnhart, a current SA member, discussed campus safety, finances, wiretapping the chancellor, and, of course, MayFest.
Barnhart considers campus safety a key issue of his campaign, and told the crowd of about 40 people that he would improve campus lighting, work to better differentiate where the Department of Public Safety has jurisdiction, and start a campus watch program.
Iyer reiterated his campaign promise of fiscal transparency at the university, and defended his widely criticized and what he called unconventional campaign tactics. After Iyer “called out” Chancellor Nancy Cantor for “blatantly inaccurate” financial statistics, the university put its budget numbers online, Iyer said. “The approach was unconventional,” Iyer said. “But it got results.”
On the unconventional tactics, Iyer said he “wiretapped” the chancellor, secretly recording the in-person interview he had with her. He also said that the e-mail he sent to Cantor–and 2100 students, the Daily Orange and CitrusTV–was helping bring financial transparency to the university.
Most of Iyer’s ire was reserved for the administration. He agreed with much of what Barnhart proposed–more campus lighting, an intergroup dialog-type program run by SA, and the general sense that students use DPS for a taxi service.
It was Barnhart who sharply criticized Iyer. Iyer said that financing for the Connective Corridor is a mystery; Barnhart railed off statistics, defending the program. “Not a dime comes from our tuition,” Barnhart said.
Iyer and Barnhart showed their different campaign and personal styles. Iyer quoted Thomas Jefferson, psychological studies, and called for “bold, inquisitive solutions.” Barnhart cited his time as a resident advisor, a floor president, and the SA outreach officer.
MayFest demonstrated an stark example of their opposing styles: Iyer questioned whether a petition drive would be effective in getting the attention from the university and getting back MayFest. Barnhart said that MayFest brought together people from different groups on campus, no matter what they chose to do on the day. As for what Barnhart has done the past two years: “I’ve presented projects to empty classrooms.”