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Second UPUA Debate as Bad as the First

Historically, the second UPUA presidential debate provides more entertainment and insight than the first. Candidates are tired after two and a half weeks of hard campaigning, and after getting more comfortable in the elections game, are more apt to start throwing mud. Simply put — I expected tempers to flare in Alumni Hall, but what I got was more of the same.

The only intense moment was when Maggie Quinn brought up the fact that Courtney Lennartz missed two of the four Faculty Senate meetings last year. As the UPUA Vice-President, one of Lennartz’s responsibilities is to sit on the Faculty Senate Committee for Student Life. She has often been criticized this election cycle for her absences and was finally called out in a public forum last night.

Lennartz rebutted the claim by saying that although she did miss half of the meetings, one of the meetings was held in the summer and cited the fact that she has a full-time summer job as the reason for her absence. The second meeting she missed was due to illness, but she did send someone to stand in her place.

Once that was cleared up, it paved the way for question after question in which all three candidates essentially said the same thing. The forum provided little opportunity for candidates to separate themselves from the others.

Evan Ponter’s main focus point was on his proposal to form a “Progressive Student Union,” which would include a representative from every student group on campus that wants to participate. “We want student government not to be something you read about in the paper, but something everyone participates in,” Ponter said.

Courtney Lennartz focused on her experience last year as a benefit that is unmatched by the other tickets. “Our previous experiences as Penn State student leaders give us confidence that we can hit the ground running.”

Maggie Quinn emphasized her involvement as the main PR person for UPUA when the scandal hit in November. She said that she stood behind President Bard the entire time, and has previously stated that she wrote several of his speeches. She added, “Some of you have your mind made up…but there is no clear frontrunner.”

Perhaps the most exciting part of the night came at the end, when the candidates were asked to “rap” about themselves. Maggie Quinn went with, “YO YO YO, My name is Maggie Q, I’m sitting up here, to represent YOU!” while Evan Ponter let out, “Yo yo it’s Ponter, we’re implimenting change, that requires dialogue, and verbal exchange!”

I’d say that alone sums of the quality of the debate last night.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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