Candidates challenged by students in UVUSA debate

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Photos by Gabi Campbell

UVUSA opponents Rise and Limitless were in the hot seat last Tuesday during the 2014 election debate at Centre Stage. The crowd filled the room with suspense as team members gave candid and occasionally shocking responses to students’ questions.

The debate was moderated by UVU Review News Editor Nicole Shepard, who began by asking presidential candidates Ryan Kent and Tyler Brklacich about excessive spending on vehicles for student life groups.

An additional $10,000 was spent on luxury extras for vehicles accessible to only a small percentage of the student body. Both Brklacich and Kent referenced the importance of relaying communication between department heads, UVUSA and the student body.

“What it comes down to is talking with the people who are making these decisions,” Kent said. “We need to share what’s happening with the rest of the school and keep students informed. SUVs don’t need $10,000 in extras, but we do need to present UVU in a way that’s going to put our school on the map.”


Rise and Limitless showed their common ground by repeatedly reaching agreements throughout the debate. Candidates had similar viewpoints on topics such as inclusivity and the importance of leadership experience.

Listeners tuned in to UVU Radio for a live broadcast of the debate, tweeting in questions for candidates in real-time. As candidates continued to acknowledge the similarities between teams, students were anxious to find out what the actual differences were between Rise and Limitless.

“Not noticing any big differences in reading the platforms, what is the biggest difference between your teams?” student Danny Diaz asked via Twitter.

Brklacich responded with the claim that team Rise differentiates itself through experience. With two members already serving for UVUSA’s executive council, Brklacich believes Rise has the ability to ‘get things done’ through communication with the administration.

Kent followed Brklacich by saying he believes team Limitless is capable through experience from a variety of positions. Kent acknowledged both teams are qualified, but he believes the diversity of leadership experience his team holds is a key factor in this election.

Diversity and inclusion were stressed as candidates from team Limitless discussed event planning. Paola Rondon, Limitless candidate for VP of student life, admitted that there should be be more events to accommodate nontraditional students.

Rondon suggested that event planners could coordinate with the Wee Care Center so students with children could attend without having to worry about daycare.

Rilee Archibald, Rise candidate running for the same position, argued that there are already events that accommodate nontraditional students. She noted that Breakfast with Santa and the Family Fun Fair are ways students with children can attend events as a family.

Team Limitless faced critique from listeners when the topic of athletic event attendance was discussed. Both teams pledged to advocate for these events to help raise attendance, but some candidates were accused of lacking attendance themselves.

“I have been to every athletic event this year. I have seen Kent a few times and Olivia was there once. Rise was always there, explain yourselves,” student Kameron Dearing said via Twitter.

Kent countered this claim by saying he had attended some athletic events, but that it’s difficult to make it to every event because of school. Limitless candidate for VP of Academics Olivia Bowen also mentioned that their team has been attending other events, including multicultural events to represent diversity.

Rise was also challenged when a student asked a question regarding the acceptance of friends into UVUSA after team Ignite was elected last year. Caleb Tippets, Rise candidate for executive VP, along with Brklacich are both members of team Ignite and are currently serving for UVUSA.


“Was there favoritism? There might have been, I’m not saying there was,” Brklacich said. “We are making the best decisions for UVU. Whether they are a friend or not, we make sure the right and most qualified person gets in [to UVUSA].”

Rise advocated for the involvement of students in UVUSA and encouraged them to be active in policy changes. Limitless encouraged students to use social media and even texting the candidates themselves to be involved, stating that they will respond to students within 24 hours.

With the impending election beginning Monday, candidates have no time to spare on their campaigns. Students can log on to UVLink and vote for their preferred team throughout elections week.