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SGA candidates face-off in debate

The Parthenon

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 23:03


Kimberly Smith | The Parthenon

SGA presidential candiates E.J. Hassan, Wittlee Jo Retton and Derek Ramsey square off in a presidential debate Wednesday at the Memorial Student Center.

Marshall University hosted its first debate in the student body president race, Wednesday. Candidates E.J. Hassan, Wittlee Jo Retton and Derek Ramsey answered questions from Election Commissioner Raymond Cousins.

Some of the issues that were discussed included the expected budget cuts and fair representation of graduate students in the Student Government Association.

Taylor Lockhart, biochemistry major from Huntington, said he thought the debate was interesting, because he did not even know there was an election for a new student body president this year.

“It’s hard to stay informed about what’s going on,” Lockhart said. “Especially as a freshman, you’re just getting used to the way things are and the way they work.”

Some of the other topics discussed were the retention rate of students at Marshall, individual campaign, personal philosophy and the most rewarding experience during the campaign. There were more personal questions as well, like if the candidates could be anywhere else, where would they be? Hassan, Retton and Ramsey all had the same answer. They all said if they could be anywhere else, it would be at home with their families.

The purpose of the debate was for students to get to know the candidates and what they stand for.

“I think that the debate was effective in communicating with the students,” Ramsey, presidential candidate, said. “Willingly or unwillingly, I think being able to hear more about each candidate will persuade students to vote.”

At the end of the debate, audience members were able to ask the candidates their own questions.

“I think holding this debate definitely made an impact,” Retton, presidential candidate, said. “If anything, it made students curious and opened their eyes to how important this should be to them.”

Each candidate has a vice president and a cabinet running with him or her. They all formed a platform that offers students information on what they plan to do if elected to office.

“Anyone is able to get online and read about the candidates,” Hassan, presidential candidate, said. “But this was certainly an effective way for students to get a more personal perspective and learn about our platforms first hand.”

Voting begins Tuesday in the Memorial Student Center and Marshall Recreational Center.   
Kimberly Smith can be contacted at

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