Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidates Myesha Jemison ’18 and Rachel Yee ’19 debated their platforms and visions for the University student community in the Whig Hall Senate Chamber on Sunday.
Moderated by Whig-Clio President Allison Berger ’18, the debate spanned issues such as the roles and mission of the USG, inclusivity and transparency, mental health reform, athlete/non-athlete relations, and goals if elected. The debate was then opened to questions from the student audience.
Berger is a member of the Daily Princetonian's Editorial Board.
Presidential candidate Yee emphasized expansion of resources for Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE), and other mental health programs on campus in her campaign.
“I have clear, feasible game plans with actionable steps that I have already taken action on,” said Yee, referring to her past work on mental health inclusion.
“I have the perspective of taking a Gap Year and being part of both 2019 and 2018," she said. “Regardless if I get elected or not, these are issues that I care about and that I am going to continue to work on.”
Presidential candidate Jemison stressed greater inclusion of the student body in the decision-making process of the USG.
“My platform centers around the desires of the wider student body and not necessarily my own personal motives or experience,” Jemison said. “As President or any other elected official, it is important to keep the needs of your constituents—the people you are meant to serve—at the center of not only your campaign, but your administration. This is the legacy that I look to leave on USG and the wider orange bubble.”
Both candidates, despite different platforms, expressed agreement and solidarity in most of the points that were raised and debated. Both candidates enthusiastically agreed that the student body must get involved and invest itself through the USG.
“My overall vision for this campaign is to get people to care about the issues enough to actually take action and invest in USG to change policy,” Yee said. “I fundamentally believe in the goodness of people. If we can get people to empathize, be informed and get involved now -- in turn, their enthusiasm and passion can and will inspire their friends and people around them to also invest in serving others through USG.”
This sentiment was reflected by the students who listened to the debate. Samantha Lee ’18 observed the relatively high student turnout and expressed the hope that more students would get involved in the student government.
“I think it was actually very useful to have face on face contact with them [the candidates].” Lee said. “I was surprised by how many people came, and I hope people will come out to these events more, get the word out, and care more about student politics on campus.”
The debate was held on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Whig Hall Senate Chamber, and was hosted by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society. It was co-sponsored by the USG and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society.
Campaigning for the USG elections officially begin at noon on Monday, Nov. 28. Voting is scheduled to begin on Monday, Dec. 5 at noon, and will be open until Wednesday, Dec. 7 at noon.