Student campaigns kicked off as the Student Government Association held its first candidate debate of the election season on Tuesday night in the Millennium Center ballroom.

Austin Cable and Aamir Shaikh are the current presidential candidates. Connor McClelland and Tiffany Cook are the executive vice presidential candidates, and Noah McGill and Larissa Copley are the vice president of finance administration candidates. Cable, McClelland and Copley are running on the same ticket while Shaikh, Cook and McGill are running together.

During the debate, each group was asked a question and given 30 seconds to craft a response, and then they were given two minutes to respond. The groups alternated between answering first, with the other side being given a minute to rebut the opposition’s answer.

Questions asked during the debate included the importance of campus monuments, underrepresented groups on campus, campus diversity, campus security and specific ideas about legislation.

When answering the question about whether the candidates had any specific legislation planned for their terms, Cable, McClelland and Copely stated they have ideas regarding security such as making GoldAlert an opt-out system as opposed to an opt-in system. They also have ideas regarding sustainability, diversity and transparency, including semesterly open forums between the SGA and ETSU students.

Shaikh, Cook and McGill stated they planned to work on legislation in regard to medial amnesty for students, meaning students will not face penalization from the university for seeking medical help during drug or alcohol related emergencies. More transparency about how student fees in tuition are used by the university is also on their agenda. Shaikh, Cook and McGill also plan to restructure how senators are required to hold their office hours.

The candidates for the senate were also featured during the debate. The candidates were first asked to introduce themselves and were then given opportunity to talk about a recent success in their respective colleges. The candidates were then given time to explain why he or she was the best representative for their college and were allowed to reemphasize their points or to cross-examine other candidates aftereward.

There are 11 candidates running for the senate in total, with three candidates running to represent the College of Business and Technology, seven running to represent the College of Arts and Sciences, and one running to represent the College of Public Health.

The debate was moderated by communications student Braden Trent and was preceded by a meet and greet of the candidates. SGA meetings and debates are free and open to the public. All ETSU students are encouraged to attend.