Separate UPUA President, Vice President Zoom Debates Scheduled

The two tickets seeking to lead the University Park Undergraduate Association’s 15th Assembly will participate in two debates leading up to Election Day, which is scheduled for April 15.

Vice President candidates Kyle Larson and Lexy Pathickal will debate on March 26, while their respective running mates and candidates for President Erin Boas and Zach McKay will do so on April 9.

Both debates will go from 6-8 p.m. and be conducted via Zoom by elections commissioners Alexa Ferchaw and Jacob Lemler. However, you won’t be able to watch the debates live. Recordings of the debates will be made available to students afterward. Since you won’t be able to ask questions live, you can submit any you have here.

Typically, candidates participate in an Executive Debate that features both candidates on each ticket. However, this year, the debate system has been modified due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has canceled in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. The elections have already been pushed back two weeks as a result. Additionally, a “Meet the Candidates” night that is focused on students seeking representative seats and normally held was canceled.

The novelty of this year’s situation and the Election Commission’s decision-making in planning the debates drew a bit of controversy as outgoing representative Tyler Akers challenged its compliance with Elections Code on Twitter, namely by splitting the debates into two separate events and notifying students of the rescheduled dates four days before the first one. For reference, according to §3.9.1 of the Elections Code, there must be at least one debate and its date is supposed to be set before the start of the cycle — which it had been before the new date needed to be made due to the coronavirus.

The Elections Commission cited the inconvenience of the university’s virtual learning period, a technicality requiring at least one debate (rather than only one debate), and the opportunity for students to watch the debate on their own time after the fact as reason for its decisions. Why there are now two debates, when only one was scheduled even before classes were called off due to the coronavirus, was not addressed.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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