For the first time in recent history, student media will host the debate for the Associated Student Body executive officer candidates tonight.
The debate will be moderated by the managers of all four media organizations of the Student Media Center — NewsWatch Ole Miss, Rebel Radio, the Ole Miss Yearbook and The Daily Mississippian. Candidates will be asked questions regarding their respective platforms and visions for campus, and the debate will take place in the Overby Center auditorium at 6 p.m tonight.
The debate was previously hosted and moderated the ASB Attorney General’s office.
ASB President Elam Miller said this year’s change offers the student body a transparent forum in which to hear directly from the candidates.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to bring other student groups into the debate process,” Miller said. “Being able to ensure transparency and an increased platform for students to evaluate their representatives is going to make a lasting impact on campus.”
Abbie McIntosh, the station manager for NewsWatch Ole Miss, said she’s looking forward to moderating the debate because a media-hosted debate will provide transparency that has been missing in past years.
“I feel like student media hosting the debate is adding a more transparent layer,” McIntosh said. “I’m so excited to be a part of this debate, and, hopefully, student media hosting the debate can become an annual thing.”
Slade Rand, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, said he hopes this year’s debate will be oriented toward informing the student body rather than offering candidates an opportunity to campaign.
“The hope is that, this year, students feel more in control of the debate process and feel that we all have a right to hear these candidates talk about the issues we actually care about,” Rand said. “Restructuring the debate process has been a goal of mine since I first began covering the ASB during my freshman year.”
Interim Attorney General Anya Czerwinski echoed Miller’s thoughts on transparency and said having student media co-host the debate “is exactly what we need.”
“We’re all students, and we all want the same thing, so working together on this debate just shows our values even more,” Czerwinski said. “It brings together different crowds and interests. … This is really important.”
The ASB general election is set for April 2, and the runoff election will take place April 4.