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Ohio State USG candidates debate policy initiatives including affordability, ‘puppy room’

USG presidential and vice presidential candidates debate their policy ideas at the Ohio Union Feb. 25. Credit: Dominique Kollie / Lantern photographer

USG presidential and vice presidential candidates debate their policy ideas at the Ohio Union Feb. 25.
Credit: Dominique Kollie / Lantern photographer

The six Undergraduate Student Government presidential slates squared off to distinguish themselves in the largest presidential ballot in about a decade.

The USG judicial panel held a debate between campaigns at the Ohio Union Tuesday night.

Candidates outlined their policy ideas to the audience after a moderator asked them to address topics like affordability and campus safety.

Those two topics brought the most lively input from candidates, all of whom had differing perspectives on how to improve them.

Presidential candidates Celia Wright and Josh Ahart advocated for further implementation of the LifeLine Response EDU app, a personal safety mobile app, which USG offered free to some students earlier this year.

Mohamad Mohamad, another presidential candidate who is a third-year in chemical engineering and engineering physics and does not officially hold a position in USG this year, said the off-campus area should have more campus emergency blue lights. The lights are located around OSU’s campus and have phones providing a direct line to University Police in case of an emergency.

When it came to affordability, candidates largely acknowledged the limited capacity of USG to influence high-level tuition decisions, but many believed USG should advocate for more scholarships.

Candidates, though, did not agree about the role USG should play in university decision making.

Presidential candidate Ryan Hedrick criticized current USG President Taylor Stepp’s administration for not fighting more aggressively for students, saying that USG’s role should be to advocate for students.

To that, current Vice President Ahart, a fourth-year in public affairs, rebuked an aggressive approach as ineffective.

“You sometimes have to make tough decisions, but that’s what leadership is,” he said.

Wright agreed with the approach of working with the university, especially with newly appointed OSU President Dr. Michael Drake, who is set to start June 30.

“We realize that as student government’s leaders, we’re going to have to be flexible and diplomatic in building relationships,” she said.

Some candidates said they think more work needs to be done to address mental health issues on campus.

Wright’s runningmate Leah Lacure voiced criticism of Ahart’s role in the current USG administration.

“As president and vice president, you have an enormous voice. You have weekly lunches with Dr. J, so we have to wonder, why these things haven’t been done before?” she said, referring to regular meetings Stepp and Ahart have with Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston.

Wright, a third-year in public health and the USG senior internal affairs director, said that’s an area she and Lacure, a third-year in public affairs and the USG deputy chief of staff, would like to improve.

“Shared governance is of great importance to Leah and I, but it’s an area where in USG we’ve really had an issue and been lacking for the last year. The General Assembly for the last year has been highly ineffective, and we’re extremely disappointed with that,” Wright said.

Ahart serves as the current speaker of the USG General Assembly.

Vytas Aukstuolis, another presidential hopeful, took aim at Hedrick’s policy idea to introduce a “puppy room” on campus with the goal of reducing stress for students.

“While Mr. Hedrick wants to spend his time taking care of dogs, I want to spend my time taking care of the undergraduate students here,” said Aukstuolis, a third-year in public affairs who is not currently involved with USG.

Andrew Warnecke, a third-year in political science who is not currently involved in USG, is the sixth presidential candidate, running with Logan Recker.

Eric Bloomfield, a first-year in economics, attended the event and expressed skepticism about the process afterward.

“The fact that there’s only three undecided voters in this whole auditorium shows that USG is a massively insular organization that doesn’t actually meet the needs of students,” he said.

His “three undecided voters” remark was a reference to a moment at the beginning of the debate where moderator Herb Asher, OSU’s senior vice president for Government Affairs and counselor to the president, asked who among the audience was truly undecided – and only three hands were raised.

Derek Bergman, a second-year in economics, said the candidates’ performances were lackluster.

“Very few of them ever actually gave specifics. None of them were truly awe-inspiring,” he said. “Looking at those who are currently in USG, they were talking about their legislation, but did it actually do anything?”

Sam Reed, a first-year in environmental science, said he was disappointed candidates didn’t address environmental issues in the debate.

“There wasn’t anything focusing on sustainability,” he said. “I think the closest thing we got to sustainability was one of the candidates mentioned the word ‘efficiency’ once.”

Voting is set to take place from March 3 to 5.


  1. The next 45 comments will be: I support candidate A over candidate B. Insert ad hominem attack with sketchy facts and unproven claims.

  2. first post


  4. vote 4 josh

  5. Okay there were like 15 hands raised…. but still that kind of did highlight the futility of the event.

  6. Funny how the lantern mentions all of the candidates but one…

  7. Yes, anon, very funny…let us all remember the true reasons we gather here to comment on Lantern articles: 1) to get the word out about our best presidential candidate, Andrew Warnecke 2) to make fun of Celia and Josh 3) to make the lantern feel special and wanted.

    *disclaimer: Lantern comments are not endorsements*



  8. Blue lights, exactly what we need. Because if someone is attacking me, I would love to run to a button and have to wait in one spot for the police to arrive. WASTE OF RESOURCES.

  9. #Warnecke/Recker2014

  10. I was one of the “three undecided voters in the room for this debate (and, actually- the other two undecided voters were my friends I was with). I chose to attend this event because I had read many of the candidates platforms, and I was interested in actually getting to hear them speak about each of their points. The platform I was most interested in hearing the candidates talk about was off-campus and safety. Many of the candidates made some great and realistic points about safety. However, I was very disappointed at the format of the debate. This debate was not highly publicized- even if you searched USG Debate OSU on the internet – nothing about it popped up. My friends and I wrote about 5 questions specific to off campus and none of these questions were read out loud to the candidates. I was also disappointed in how the candidates interacted with the audience after the debate. I waited to talk to each of them and they were either- a.too busy talking or texting with their friends b. more interested in meeting the professor moderating c. too busy taking pictures … While the debate helped me to get a more clear picture of their platforms in general, my interaction with the candidates have led me to believe that I do not really want any of them in office if they don’t want to make time to talk with the students.

  11. i weally want the goat to win becuz it goes mooooooooo

  12. Sometimes the goat says “wibbit wibbit” and sometimes it barks, but all and all when the goat says “moooooo”, it moooooooves me. USG has lost its touch with incorporating the advice of animals. The banning of council of imminent figures such as Dr. Doolittle and Eliza Thornberry has severely hurt us the past decade. Goat proposes change. Not only for Afro Duck of Mirror Lake, but for all of the animals USG neglects. I challenge you, think very closely about the last acts passed USG, have they helped our habitat or no? Polar Bears in the North Pole continue to decline, and lions in Africa our facing the same defeat. We need change. We need Goat.

    Friends, we need the council of Dr. Doolittle and Eliza Thornberry back. Not only for USG, but for The Ohio State University. Make a change – Vote Goat.

  13. Hey guys,

    Goat here, reminding you to vote for me next week as your next USG President. My first order of business will be a university wide mandate requiring all university affiliates to read Animal Farm. You will all then be required to report back to me on your new found respect towards animals.

    Goat also wishes to make it known that I am endorsing Andrew Warnecke for USG President, but you should still vote Goat.

    Thank you.

  14. Hey guys,

    Andrew Warnecke here, reminding you to vote next week for USG President.

    I also wish to make it known that I am endorsing Erik Leiden for USG President, but you should still vote Goat.

  15. I’m a puppy. Who doesn’t like puppies?

  16. Yeah, Goat is endorsing the absolute wrong person. Dr. Doolittle was extremely overrated and Hey Arnold was always better than the Wild Thornberrys anyway.

    If you’re gonna vote, vote Josh & Jen or Celia & Leah. Not rocket science guys.

    Goat is dead.

  17. I resent that. I am still alive.

  18. Andrew Warnecke

  19. We need Andrew Warnecke

  20. Good one Erik Leiden.

  21. Your Voice Your Choice #Warnecke/Recker 2014

  22. Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke
    Andrew Warnecke

  23. I think we can all see how one sided the Lantern is, if it is to afraid to even mention much about candidate Andrew Warnecke. The USG is so worried about Mr Warnecke winning the election that they chose not to list his web site with all of the other candidates web sites. Can anyone explain this to me. Talk about crooked politics. Is this what you want your school to be known for. Its to bad you can not try to have a fair and honest election. So to anyone who would like to check out that website http://ohiostatevote.wix.com/warneckerecker2014

    VOTE ANDREW WARNECKE AND LOGAN RECKER. the only honest people in the election!

  24. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats’ great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of a decade of assault, and 9th Circuit case 11-56043.

  25. Typically operating through Puppets–including puppets in the judiciary–the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. The right has accomplished its political objectives by presenting a fraction of the evidence to judicial officials who, having seen the pattern dozens of times before, could not help but realize that they were being presented with incomplete and inaccurate information. With either the willfully blind approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoot energy weaponry at me and my pets, despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and despite my petitions in court. There is really only one solution, and that’s to disempower them politically.

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