Executive Board candidates debate

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

The five candidates for the executive board positions in the student government debated Monday in the Oakland room in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The five candidates include Shirmeen Ahmad, Catie Witt, Stephen Simpson, Courtney Sage and Derek Pierce.

Voting will begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday and polls will close Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.

The candidate will be unable to campaign in the residence halls, and each of the candidate’s platform will be available on the student government website.

Ahmad, Witt, and Simpson will be running uncontested for Student Body President, Executive Vice President, and Vice President of Academic Affairs, respectively.

Sage and Pierce will both contend for the position of Vice President of Student Affairs.

During the debate, each candidate gave a speech explaining why they were running, followed by a period of questions from the audience.

Ahmad cited her reason for attending Eastern was because she wanted Billy the Panther as her mascot.

“You can call me crazy, but I call it lucky,” Ahmad said. “Within the first week here at this amazing university, I found friends who are still my greatest assets today, and I continue to meet people that I find to be valuable to my life and this university.”

Ahmad also said the people who are a part of Eastern are the greatest part of it.
“I have been a part of EIU student government for three, and in my three years, I’ve gotten to see how the traditions of the institution have become the tradition for students, myself included,” Ahmad said.

Witt, the current executive vice president, will run again for her position despite being recently elected this year.

“As a student of EIU, I’ve learned the importance of being involved, and I’ve been very fortunate, especially with having this position this past semester and having experience, I’ve learned a lot about the different responsibilities and expectation that I didn’t know previously,” Witt said.

Witt also said the biggest responsibility of the position is Student Action Team.

“The Student Action team is very important to me, and I, along with the other executive members and the other senators, have been working really hard, and we are excited to see it be very successful,” Witt said.
Simpson started off his speech with saying how being accepted to Eastern was such an honor.

“My way of showing EIU I care is by being a student leader,” Simpson said. “As a student leader, I have the ability to shape individuals and guide them along their way.”

Simpson also said being involved with many organizations has exposed him to campus diversity.

“If elected as vice president of academic affairs, I plan on creating a series of events to have students engaged,” Simpson said. “EIU has a lot to offer students. I want to ensure the resources are utilize.”

The vice president of student affairs position is contested between to candidates, Sage and Pierce.

Sage, the current speaker of the senate, said when she first arrived at Eastern, the phrase “We are EIU” has stood with her during her time here.

“Through my involvement in student government, I have learned that not only are We EIU, but EIU is us,” Sage said. “As student leaders, it is our responsibility to promote our school and remind students why we are proud to be at this university.”

Sage also said in her current position in student government, she tries to instill this idea into the minds of the student body, and it is the same message she wishes to continue should she be elected.

Pierce said when he first came to Eastern; he came because he loved the campus environment.

“If elected the next vice president of student affairs, I look to meet with every RSO that our school offers and try to help them increase involvement and memberships,” Pierce said. “My goal is to form a tight relationship with the RSOs and establish a joint effort so students can easily find the location, date, and time of each RSOs meeting and, or events.”

After each of the candidates delivered their platform speeches, they were asked questions from the audience, including Reginald Thedford, the current student body president.

One of the questions Thedford ask was how the candidates would create and maintain a cohesive executive board.

“This year’s board has taught me lot because we were connected right away, right off the bat,” Ahmad said. “One of the things that I think really made a difference into our executive board was how much we worked in the summer and how much passion we used to put into that.”

Ahmad also said there are other things the executives focus on in their lives, but what they can all focus on at Eastern is student government

The students will receive a link to each of the candidates platform speeches, and voting will begin Monday and conclude Tuesday.


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]