Candidates go head-to-head in SGA debate

‘Berg will decide its new Student Body President in the upcoming election.

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Benji Eber '23 and Jason Ivey '23 during the debate. Photo via @bergstudentgov on Instagram.

On Apr. 20, Benji Eber ‘23 and Jason Ivey ‘23 participated in the presidential debate for the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) elections. The candidates each gave opening and closing statements and were also asked a number of questions. They were both serious and lighthearted, and conversations ranged from their visions for Muhlenberg’s future to the kind of alarms they wake up to in the morning. Moderating the debate were current SGA president Zaire Carter ‘22 and Jonathan Slovak ‘22, a member of the elections committee.  

Both Eber and Ivey came into the debate with a lot of experience. Eber is the current SGA vice president and Ivey is the campus engagement chair for SGA, having also run for president last year. Both laid out exciting goals for their presidency. Eber stated that his top priorities are to provide free menstrual hygiene products in all restrooms on campus, increasing student wages and fixing the current parking problem on campus. Ivey’s priorities are to bridge a student body that is fractured over COVID and other issues as well as restoring the relationship between the students and the College’s administration. 

 I am very excited to see where SGA goes with a new administration.

Ian Clark ’25

One of the core issues of the night was related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on campus, with a focus on how to make the voices of marginalized students heard on campus. Both candidates agreed that it is a very important issue that needs to be addressed but they had different visions on how to provide a solution. Ivey plans to “make sure we are tabling, sending out surveys and using the information we gather to integrate the wants of the student body with the will of the SGA.” On the other hand, Eber’s plan is to “make myself more accessible to students to approach and talk to me. I also have a great executive board behind me to help communicate with the students.”

In addition to listening to the voices of underrepresented students, the candidates were also pressed on how they are going to make SGA—a historically white organization—more diverse and akin to the student body. Ivey said, “It starts with acknowledging our failure as SGA to be diverse and represent people of all ethnicities on campus.” He plans to put people of different backgrounds on all the SGA committees. Eber plans to reach out to affinity groups and clubs as well as the Office of Multicultural Life to make sure that they know about the logistics behind SGA elections and how to run for office themselves.  

The last major topic that was covered at the debate was how to support the many clubs on campus. Both Eber and Ivey had similar visions for how to support the current clubs on campus, starting with funding. Ivey wants to make sure that clubs know what funding is available to them and encourages clubs to request and spend money, because spending money “shows the administration that it is a priority and will cause them to increase funding for clubs.” Both candidates also expressed they want clubs to know that SGA isn’t just a place for funding,  it is also a guide for them. Both Eber and Ivey plan to have SGA representatives attend more club meetings to foster a deeper connection between clubs and SGA.  

…while I think that there is a lot of work to be done, I am hopeful whoever gets it will perform their duties well.

Ashley Kim ’25

Students had positive views of the debate and the candidates. Ben Arehart ‘23 stated his support for Jason Ivey saying, “Jason is actions over words. That is how I have always been and I appreciate people who lead by example, and Jason has always done that.”

Ashley Kim ‘25 didn’t prefer one candidate over the other saying, “Both seemed qualified for the role of president and while I think that there is a lot of work to be done, I am hopeful whoever gets it will perform their duties well.”

Ian Clark ‘25, who stated that he will be voting for Eber said, “Both candidates seemed very passionate about serving this campus and I think that is very important for the student body president. Personally, I will be voting for Benji but I think that both candidates had a very good performance on stage and while I am voting for Benji, I do appreciate Jason’s ideas and I hope that he is still able to incorporate those ideas into SGA. I am very excited to see where SGA goes with a new administration.”

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