Everything You Need to Know About the Second TSG Debate

As college students, most of us barely have time to eat three meals a day -- let alone spend two hours listening to a Temple Student Government debate.

Don’t get me wrong, you should be interested in the initiatives and goals of those who want to take charge of Temple University’s student government. The decisions and values of the team elected are going to affect us throughout our years left at TU, so it’s more than important to remain informed.

But, with exams, extracurriculars and just a general desire to get at least five hours of sleep at night, not everyone is going to make it out to the TSG debates. Luckily for those who didn’t join BecomingTU and Rise TU in the student center yesterday, I’ve summarized a few of each team’s major goals and plans.

The debate started off with a little reflection -- the teams were asked what current TSG initiatives they found to be effective, as well as which they would like to see changed.

BecomingTU’s Presidential candidate, Francesca Capozzi, who currently serves as the Director of University Pride and Traditions for TSG, is well knowledged on a lot of the current initiatives. Although she respects many of the current initiatives, Capozzi hopes to improve the TSG newsletter email system, improve town hall meetings and further aid students suffering from food and housing insecurity. More specifically, “we want to create an entire new director position for [food and housing insecurity issues] because it is important to a lot of students on this campus,” Capozzi said.

Alex Rosenberg, Rise TU’s Vice Presidential Candidate of External Affairs also feels strongly about the current initiatives regarding food and housing insecurity. When discussing the Cherry Pantry, Rosenberg claimed that “we need to strengthen what we already have and add new initiatives and action plans to it,” such as getting SNAP and LIHEAP benefits into the TSG office.

Another issue that was brought to light during yesterday’s debate was the involvement and participation of Parliament. There were only eight applications for this year’s elections -- meaning that all at-large candidates are running unopposed. This poses the question: should Temple Student Government ask Parliament to go inactive for a semester, and would this help remedy the issue of participation?

Rise TU’s Presidential candidate Alexandra Gordon believes that asking Parliament to go inactive is unfeasible and unconstitutional. According to Gordon, “there needs to be more focus on making sure students know that these [Parliament] seats are available,” rather than halting Parliament all together. Gordon also mentions that neither the National Panhellenic Council nor the IFC knew that there was a Greek seat available on Parliament.

However, BecomingTU believes pausing Parliament to be a viable solution to remedy the lack of participation. Capozzi hopes that Parliament would accept their request to go inactive for a semester so that “we can take time and step back and go in and see where the problems lie.”

Later on, both teams were asked what their definition of an organization that promoted justice would be, and both campaigns had compelling ideas, as well as strict stances against discrimination.

Diamante “Dimo” Ortiz, Rise TU’s Vice Presidential candidate of Services answered first, stating that Rise TU wants to advocate against organizations that may have “implicit bias or racial and hate discrimination” through their No-Hate initiative. Ortiz explains that other universities reprimand students and organizations involved in discrimination, however, Temple University has not done this. She claims that “there needs to be comfort and security established in this institution and we need to make sure that the university is held accountable to that.

BecomingTU’s Vice Presidential candidate of Services, Laryssa Banks, explains a need for the creation of focus groups to inform the administration of what different organizations and students want. Banks states that nothing will change “if those conversations continue to stay amongst marginalized populations,” therefore creating the need for focus groups.

Pertaining to organizations and clubs on campus, both campaigns have a candidate that is involved in Greek Life at Temple. Both teams were asked how they would separate their voices from Greek Life to represent the entire Temple student body.

BecomingTU’s Capozzi is a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon, and, if elected into office, she hopes to give students involved in Greek Life a voice at Temple, but also to hold them accountable for their actions. Through BecomingTU’s office hours, they hope to create a stronger connection with sororities and fraternities on campus.

Rosenberg, a part of Rise TU and a brother of Pi Lambda Phi, voices that he is “not defined by my fraternity.” Although he recognizes that he is a person outside of his fraternity, he still commends the work that Pi Lambda Phi has done, specifically regarding putting an end to sexual assault.

Now, for the topic that we all knew would come up in the debate -- and will likely be a popular topic for the remainder of the year: mumps. University officials predict that the end of the mumps outbreak may not come until the end of the semester. Both teams were asked if they had any criticisms for how the outbreak was handled and how they would have handled the situation if they were in power at the time.

Rise TU told the audience at the debate that they believed Temple should be responsible for providing subsidized vaccinations -- The Director of Vaccines at CHOP, as well as others, allegedly support this as well. Gordon stated that regardless of whether subsidized vaccinations are feasible, “advocating for students and their needs is something that Temple Student Government needs to do.”

Capozzi began this question by thanking Temple and the Department of Public Health for bringing the mumps vaccines to campus. However, if BecomingTU were in power during the start of this outbreak, Capozzi states that they would have put pressure on the university to act more diligently with this.

Perhaps the most important topic discussed at the debate was how each campaign would ensure that all Temple students feel represented and recognized by Temple Student Government, especially since BecomingTU is an all-women ticket.

BecomingTU’s Vice Presidential candidate of External Affairs, Kaya Jones, first explained that just because they are an all-women’s campaign, that is not saying that they will be an all-women’s administration -- their administration will aim to highlight the voices of all identities. However, they chose to be an all-women’s campaign because of the empowering message it created for “women to see women in leadership positions that they rightfully deserve,” Jones said.

Rise TU’s Gordon also believes it to be immensely important to exemplify women empowerment, as they have many females as a part of their campaign. With Gordon herself as the head of Rise TU’s ticket, Ortiz as the Vice Presidential candidate of Services, an all-women communications team and a female Director of Strategy on their team, Rise TU wants to push females in leadership roles. However, Rise TU still aims to be inclusive and  “representative to address all struggles students have.”

The two-hour long debate brought up many different ideas and opinions from both teams -- and it’s obvious that both campaigns worked tirelessly to articulate their vision to the Temple student body.

Now, it’s our turn to put in the work by simply voting online at https://atlas.ocis.temple.edu/uvote/ today or tomorrow. The winning team will be announced Thursday, April 4 -- happy voting!