The Daily Gamecock

SG runoff candidates debate

Small group of attendees hears frictionless policy discussion

The debate between Student Government presidential runoff candidates Joe Wright and Rohail Kazi Monday night was, much like the rest of the race, mostly uneventful.

Though appearances of party polarization were present — Wright sported a red shirt while Kazi chose a blue — little actual debate occurred.

Moderator John Cuenin posed several standard questions to the candidates before the group of about 13 students gathered in the Senate Chambers. Fittingly, the candidates targeted student apathy as SG’s biggest problem.

“Students aren’t apathetic,” Kazi said. “The typical student is involved and is passionate about what they do, but politics is a dirty word, and students don’t want to be involved in Student Government.”

Kazi proposed better communicating SG’s successes to students, such as with the Carolina Cab, a free taxi service that will start next month. Wright said that SG should appeal to students through the organizations in which they are already involved.

But it wasn’t until Cuenin opened the questioning up to students that a spark finally “ignited” and “amplified” the Wright-Kazi debate.

One student asked each candidate to tell him why he shouldn’t vote for the other. Wright said his two-year record was longer than Kazi’s, but Kazi countered by saying that “when you talk about experience, it’s not how long you’ve been somewhere but what you’ve gotten done while you’re there.”

Wright retorted by asking Kazi to name three specific things he had accomplished. Kazi said he had increased collaboration between SG and the Resident Housing Association and that he had improved student organizations’ access to SG funding. When asked the same question, Wright said he had worked with student organizations and that many of his ideas are multiyear projects.

Another student asked each candidate which of his opponent’s characteristics he would most like to emulate. Wright sat for minutes without an answer, before complimenting Kazi’s rhetorical skills. Kazi’s response about Wright’s personality was remarkably similar.