EDITORIAL: Candidate behavior not up for debate

On Monday, the three presidential candidates for the Modesto Maidique Campus’ Student Government Council met in the Graham Center for a debate,which had been scheduled with its moderators—The Beacons Editor in Chief Alexandra Camejo and the MMC Elections Commissioner Alessa Torres—at least one week in advance.

Just as the debate kicked off, presidential candidate Laura Farinas, avoiding the first question, said that she wanted to share the definition of the word, “partisan” (a demonstration of bias), from her iPad.

She and presidential candidate Samir Patel went on to agree that, given The Beacon’s April 2 recommendation of the Sanjeev Udhnani and Connor Mautner ticket, neither of them felt comfortable answering questions from a biased moderator; namely Camejo. Leaving the room abruptly, Patel and Farinas, along with their respective running mates Andres Wu and Alex Castro, held a question-and-answer session outside of G.C.—mostly to a crowd of supporters (as evidenced by their t-shirt endorsements).

While one could recognize the candidates’ concern about Camejo’s participation, we feel that communication—an aspect of governing both Farinas and Patel have strongly campaigned for—could have avoided this unnecessary drama.

By not voicing their issue with this alleged “bias” to the Elections Commission beforehand, it appeared as though Farinas, Patel, and their running mates were more concerned with marching out of a debate than actually participating in one.

As members of Student Media, our number one concern is that students are informed on issues that affect them.  We had hoped that the candidates felt the same.  We would have much rather seen a change in moderator than a flat-out avoidance of any real discussion—involving all of the candidates.  As presidential candidates—especially ones that call for transparency—we suggest that they practice what they preach.  By dodging any confrontation on the points brought against them, Patel and Farinas reemphasized our hesitation towards their tickets.

Their inability to understand the concept of an opinion or how to address those against them provokes the need of another definition.  Apparently we must clarify that opinions expressed in the Opinion section are, in fact, opinions.  Opinions, by nature, demonstrate a bias. That the section was headlined with the title “The Beacon Recommends” implies a recommendation, which implies an opinion, which—we can safely assume—implies a bias.

And shall we make reference to the hypocrisy of candidates leaving a formalized debate, afraid of fielding questions from a biased audience, so that they could go outside and answer questions from a crowd of people wearing shirts with their name on them?

Disastrous, embarrassing, petty as this debate turned out, it has, on the bright side, drastically simplified the voter’s decision-making process. A candidate’s immaturity, so fundamental in matters of leadership, renders their platform irrelevant, as no plan, however wise or well-intentioned, can be carried out efficiently if the president does not know how to behave.

6 Comments on "EDITORIAL: Candidate behavior not up for debate"

  1. Can I please point out that the Beacon endorsement came out just hours before the debate? You say they were immature, but face it, the Beacon moderating the debate was clearly biased. You writing an editorial after the fact just to call the candidates names is even more immature.

    Considering the debate was to be held the day before voting started…when exactly where the candidates supposed to voice their concerns?

    It is not unreasonable at all for candidates to want a partisan moderator. The Beacon editor, was not. And I am not saying its a bad thing you guys endorsed a candidate, but you cant expect people to just sit back and let you do whatever you want. It was not appropriate for her to moderate the debate. If anything, you should have found a news reporter NOT on the editorial board, who had nothing to do with the Beacon Recommends editorial. That at least would have been better than having the leader of the Beacon moderate.

    Shame on the Beacon for acting so childish in response to what the candidates did. Even if we agree that it was just for their supporters, honestly…who was left with Sanjeeve? I would bet nothing but his supporters as well.

    This editorial was extremely childish, and I think the student body deserves better from its newspaper.

    ~Ben Badger Jr./FIU Alumni & Non Degree Seeking Student

  2. Secondly, “not know how to behave?” So in other words, if people dont bow down to you and do exactly what you want to do…that is misbehaving? I guess the Beacon editorial board has a thing against free will. Oh and you should know, according to the elections code, “The moderator must have no association with or partisanship between any of the candidates participating on the debate and must not act in any partisan manner.”

    And your editorial today CLEARLY shows the Beacon has a bias in favor of one of the candidates. So by leaving the debate, the other two candidates clearly followed the elections code.

    ~Ben Badger

  3. I think you’re a little confused as to the issue here, Mr. Badger. The Beacon was not expressing partisanship by moderating a debate they were /invited/ to moderate (by the elections committee, no less). Editorials are an opinion, something else the Beacon is certainly entitled to, same as everyone else. Luckily, regardless of their opinions, journalists abide by a code of ethics that dictates they be objective.

    If any of Ms. Camejo’s questions were biased, the accusation of partisanship might be better founded, but they were not as she was able to conduct herself in a professional manner.

    As well, the Beacon publishes their recommendation for SGA leadership every year. The fact that this year’s candidates took issue with that seems to say more about them than about the Beacon.

    • Of course the Beacon was not bias for moderating the debate. It was bias
      because they publically supported one of the candidates and said less
      than complimentary thing about the others that morning in “Beacon

      Ms. Rodriguez. The SGC-MMC Supreme Court ruled this week that the
      elections commissioner was guilty of misfeasance for being biased in
      favor of candidates. (http://go.fiu.edu/espinavtorres) REGARDLESS of who
      invited the Beacon to moderate the debate, the fact remains the Beacon
      had a bias in favor of one of the candidates.

      The reason you need a partisan moderator, is because in a debate, they
      can manipulate questions to favor a certain person, or do other things
      that could potentially favor the candidate they support. This editorial
      was muddled, but they do admit the “Beacon Recommends” was an opinion,
      and thus a bias. THAT IS THE ISSUE! Two of the tickets obviously did not
      want to be asked questioned by a clearly bias person.

      No on said the Beacon could not endorse a candidate, I never said that
      at all. However the Elections Code does state that the Commissioner must
      provide a partisan moderator.

      People have been saying the candidates should have gone to the
      commissioner to voice their concerns about the Beacon bias issue. Well,
      she herself was bias and everyone knew it following her series of
      actions. And she was found guilty on the matter, may I remind you.

      Also, its not Laura/Samir’s fault that previous candidates allowed a
      bias moderator to govern the debates. It was their right to not
      participate in debate moderated by the Beacon editor in chief. The
      Beacon Recommends said very harsh things about both candidates
      character, not their job performance, but character. When an
      organization questions you in that way, it is only natural to be wary of

      Face it, by the Beacon’s own admission here, they had a bias. The real
      issue is the Beacon is upset they were walked out on. Its very obvious
      from the rhetoric in this editorial.

      So Ms. Rodriguez, I think you should do some more research on this. The
      Beacon should be proud that students were able to think for themselves,
      and not just be herded by the commissioner into doing whatever she
      wanted. The debates could never have been fair, and your contention is
      that they should have gone through with it anyways and then complained
      about mistreatment.

      I respectfully disagree. No one should have to participate in a farce
      debate conducted by a corrupt elections commissioner. Again, the fact
      the Beacon editor contributed to the Beacon Recommends in of itself made
      her bias. Also, lets take note it was two tickets who walked out, not
      just one for being bitter about not getting the recommendation.  So this
      was not some petty walkout as many have started to claim.

      This was a legitimate protest against a corrupt commissioner and standing up for their rights.

      ~Ben Badger

  4. Wow what a terrible article. I feel like I know now the opinion of a whiny little girl who is upset because things didn’t go her way. 

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