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Thursday, February 24, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 102

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SA candidates prep for upcoming election

By Natalie Yeats
Daily Cougar Staff

Campus parking and safety were the principal concerns among the candidates for the Students' Association presidency and vice presidency in a Wednesday afternoon SA election debate.


Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar


Students' Association presidential candidates (from left) Andy Brown and James Robertson Jr. look on as candidate Justin Ray answers a question during Wednesday's SA debate. About 60 students attended the debate, which was sponsored by Omicron Delta Kappa.

The debate, the first of this year's SA race, was sponsored by leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. About 60 students gathered in the University Center Underground to hear the candidates speak on campus issues and their qualifications for office.

Candidates were given three minutes each to discuss the main planks of their platforms, followed by five rounds of questions.

Independent presidential candidate Andy Brown focused on parking issues, saying the key to solving parking problems lies in exploring options with Metro's new light rail system and bussing and shuttle services.

Brown also said he would work to make the campus safer if elected. His vision for the University, he said, "involves a place free from crime where you can walk to your car without being scared."

James Robertson Jr., also an independent candidate for president, said he wants to see the University become more "student-friendly." He said he supports keeping the M. D. Anderson Memorial Library open 24 hours, a measure the SA Senate is currently working on, and would like to establish a mentoring program between UH students and Third Ward youths.

"I want to make sure the students are taken care of, and not taken advantage of," Robertson said.

Speaker of the Senate Justin Ray, running for president as leader of the Cougar Tradition ticket, said the University and SA have already taken steps to alleviate parking troubles. In the past year, Ray said, SA has worked with UH administrators to create 1,800 additional parking spaces on campus.

Ray touted the experience of the people on his ticket, about half of whom are incumbent senators. The Cougar Tradition party has an advantage over other tickets because they have an already established rapport with the administration, he said.

Qualified Cougar presidential candidate Kenya Walker said she feels that safety is a big issue at the University.

"If students do not feel safe, they will not participate in activities," Walker said. "This affects school pride."

If elected, Walker said she would form a committee to investigate improving campus safety.

After the presidential candidates spoke, students running for vice president and student regent were also given the opportunity to describe their qualifications and positions.

A second debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the UC Spindletop Room, and the elections will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wednesday's election will be broadcast later on Channel 6, the Student Video Network.

For more information on the elections, call (713) 743-5220 or watch for The Daily Cougar's SA voting guide in Monday's issue.
 

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