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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ASUA Pres. Debate: Finnegan cites experience, White ‘advocates for marginalized students’


Hannah White and Mikey Finnegan went head to head last night in a debate hosted by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, UATV3 and the Daily Wildcat.

Panelists included Melinda Burke, vice president of Alumni Relations, Morgan Abraham, 2013-2014 ASUA president, Sam Gross, news editor for the Daily Wildcat, and current ASUA President, Manny Felix. The debate was moderated by ASUA Elections Commissioner, Diego Alvarez.

Big discussions of the night focused on diversity, the cost of tuition, the proposed student athletic fee and campus emergencies.

The debate began with White stating she wants to “advocate for campus’ marginalized populations,” and would first address diversity if elected ASUA Student Body President.

Students in the audience snapped their fingers in support of White and held signs that read, “I am with Hannah White because…” with one reading, “She empowers the students’ voice.”

Finnegan began the night saying he wants to focus on students’ financial hardships and make sure that all students are capable to attend the university for a reasonable cost.

White then pointed out Finnegan was once in support of raising tuition. Later in the debate, Finnegan attempted to clear his name by saying he didn’t support raising tuition “to his knowledge.”

Finnegan also began asking White his own questions on tuition, quizzing if she knew exactly how much in-state and out of-state students were paying. She stumbled on the answer but gave a ballpark answer — to which Finnegan retorted with the exact dollar amounts.

When the candidates were asked whether they support the proposed $200 student athletic fee, White argued that while athletics needs funding too, most students cannot afford another fee. “That’s two months’ worth of groceries,” White said.

Finnegan agreed and said ASUA, instead of UA Athletics, needs to survey a diverse group of students about the fee.

With the recent disapproval of UAlerts, candidates were asked how they would address the issue. White said she would work closely with University of Arizona Police Department to find out what the protocol is before sending out an alert. 

“We just don’t know and we need to ask questions to get those answers,” White said. Finnegan agreed and said that student safety should be prioritized above all else. 

This reporter’s takeaway:

While both candidates did well at answering questions, providing ideas and pointing out flaws in each other’s stances, White ultimately hit the hammer home on the subject of diversity. She proved that she would ensure that campus minority groups would be properly represented and that she would fight to make their voices heard. 

However, knowledge of the inner-workings of ASUA — particularly regarding the ASUA internal restructure or presidential responsibilities — are where she faltered. This is where Finnegan was able to steal the show away from her. 

Finnegan presented himself as a well-rounded candidate that was informed on, and in tune with, the inner workings of ASUA. While policy, procedure and the willingness to take the tuition fight to the Arizona capital were the topics he primarily championed, Finnegan proved he also clearly understood the issues of diversity not only on campus but within ASUA. 

Both candidates proved their capabilities to lead ASUA, but in tonight’s match-up, Finnegan’s policy prowess allowed him to win the debate, if only by a little. 

Click here to view videos from the debate.

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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