Top five takeaways from final MSA presidential debate

Presidential candidates Robert Schmidt and Julia Wopata debated MSA issues at the second and final debate.

The Maneater hosted the second debate of the 2018 Missouri Students Association presidential election Thursday in Strickland 204. Presidential candidates Julia Wopata from the “More to Roar” campaign and Robert Schmidt of the “Mizzou for You” campaign participated in the debate. It featured only presidential candidates because vice presidential candidate Alp Kahveci of the “Mizzou for You” ticket was unable to attend the debate.

Here are The Maneater’s top five takeaways from the debate:

1. Both slates overlooked sexual assault awareness and prevention in their platforms.

MSA Director of Student Services Justin McDonald asked the slates via Twitter why their platforms did not include sexual assault. Both candidates said not having it was an “oversight” on their part and that they’d make it a point to reach out to student organizations regarding sexual assault and awareness.

Wopata said she met with the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and the Wellness Resource Center and learned about the education and resources they provide, but it isn’t in her platform.

2. Both Schmidt and Wopata said they are against concealed carry on campus. However, Schmidt said he would want student input on the issue.

Wopata said she is not in support of concealed carry. She said that having guns on campus would not allow students to feel safe and be equipped for future success.

Schmidt said he is in support of giving the people of Missouri choice in terms of concealed carry, but is not in support of students carrying guns on campus. He says that Missouri students should make the decision on concealed carry rather than politicians.

3. In terms of working with the Graduate Professional Council, Wopata said she believes graduate students and undergraduates have different concerns, while Schmidt disagreed.

Wopata has not worked or met with any students on GPC but hopes to in the future. She said that not meeting them was due, in part, to scheduling conflicts and the different goals of GPC and MSA.

Schmidt said he has worked with graduate students in his coursework and that, through his conversations with them, he has noticed that MSA and GPC have somewhat similar goals and issues regarding the university, especially in terms of financial aid and student debt.

4. Schmidt and Wopata are both in support of MSA’s recent decision to move several auxiliaries.

MSA senate passed bill 57-37 on April 11, which removed five auxiliaries from MSA’s jurisdiction: KCOU, MUTV, MSA/GPC Tech, MSA/GPC Box Office and Student Legal Services.

Wopata voiced her support for MSA’s decision to move the auxiliaries and said she was glad that the programs were not dropped entirely, but were picked up by other groups on campus.

Schmidt agreed, but he said that MSA should’ve gathered more student input before deciding to remove the auxiliaries.

5. If the candidates could only accomplish one thing on their platform, Schmidt said he would increase student input on the budget, and Wopata said she would better interconnect student organizations.

“Representatives say that they want to trim the fat, but at this point they’re trimming muscle and bone,” Schmidt said about budget cuts at MU.

He also said that by gathering more student input on the budget, he can ensure that MSA is not cutting programs that matter to students.

Wopata reaffirmed the importance of mental health awareness in her campaign. She said her primary goal is to interconnect student organizations on campus and increase visibility in terms of mental health.

“No matter where you’re from, mental health will affect you,” Wopata said.

Edited by Skyler Rossi | srossi@themaneater.com

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