Candidates debate USG’s future role

first_imgThe two candidates for president of Undergraduate Student Government presented two visions at Wednesday’s debate: one of expanding and rejuvenating USG’s current structure and one of restructuring the organization to maximize efficiency.Executive talk · Presidential candidates Matt Arkfeld and Christian Kurth vigorously debate the most effective way for USG to advocate for undergraduate student interests. – Priyanka Patel | Daily Trojan Presidential candidate Christian Kurth, current USG director of university affairs, advocated for USG to use its current structure to better advocate for students, while  presidential candidate Matthew Arkfeld, current USG Senate speaker pro tempore, said USG will better advocate for undergraduate students interest by changing its internal structure.“I believe what Kurth is offering to the table is really nothing new,” Arkfeld said. “I want everyone to think a little bit bigger. I believe that you did not do a sufficient job on behalf of the student body.”Kurth said USG’s current mode of advocacy — surveying the student body on certain topics and bringing the results to administration — does bring about tangible results.“One thing that I’ve noticed is how students don’t really understand how powerful their voice actually is,” Kurth said. “I really value the importance of surveys. Anytime you can get a survey with over 1,500 students or more, the university really does listen.”Arkfeld, when asked if his one year of experience within USG was sufficient, said his activity as a senator, which includes co-sponsoring a resolution against raising tuition, shows his commitment to the student body.“I believe that time is not really a measure; it’s more about action,” Arkfeld said. “I strongly believe that in this past year I’ve done a lot of action. In addition, as president of the student body, it’s about being in touch with the student body.”Kurth, however, emphasized that his years of experience in USG have given him a better understanding of the organization’s role in the USC community and a better understanding of the operations of the university itself. When discussing the new security measures, he cited the effect of the Dept. of Public Safety’s efforts on both students and the surrounding community while also disagreeing with USC’s handling of the policy change.“The people that are more happy about our security [in general] are actually the community around us — we have over 400 security programs that USC puts on to strengthen the community around us,” Kurth said. “What I do think, though, is that the university should have consulted the students better.”Arkfeld said the community’s relationship with USC is a priority for him.“It’s more important to move forward and develop a tight-knit community and break these barriers down to  foster a great relationship with the Greater USC area,” Arkfeld said. “I strongly believe that because community members cannot enter the campus … [is negatively affected and the measures are] not really doing what it’s set out to do – to make people feel safe.”Students who attended the debate said that the debate gave them more information about the candidates’ platforms. Elli Hanson, a junior majoring in art, said that the debate helped her to understand the differences between the presidential tickets.“I was really happy to be here because there were a lot of platform points that I heard from both sides that I didn’t really know just from pamphlets and stuff on Trousdale,” Hanson said. “I learned a lot at this debate.”Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics Dan Schnur moderated the debate. Schnur noted that the crowd of 150 students in attendance was the largest turnout he had ever witnessed at the annual debate.“I was extremely impressed by both tickets,” Schnur said. “I’ve moderated these debates for five years and this is by far the largest turnout I’ve seen..”Current USG President Mikey Geragos said he thought the candidates both did a good job of vigorously debating important issues, but wished more students came.“There were a lot of students who seem to have already decided which candidate they will vote for at the event,” Geragos said. “I really hope students who have not made up their minds go online, watch clips of the debate and research the candidates before they cast their ballots.”last_img read more

Paul George just the latest homegrown star to feel Lakers’ love in free agency

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Before signing a contract that at the time was the second-biggest in NBA history, DeMar Derozan heard the siren call of the Southland.It was 2016, the Lakers had salary-cap room, and a significant number of friends in Los Angeles were campaigning for the Compton native to come home.“It’s flattering because if you grew up here, you’re a Laker fan,” DeRozan said. “So, for me, I just knew what my mind was at and my heart was at. As long as you know that, it really don’t get to you as much. It don’t make the decision that hard.”Though no Lakers will play in Sunday’s prime-time game, the All-Star rosters feature five players who grew up in the L.A. area and a sixth, Kevin Love, who starred at UCLA. “Oh, there’s definitely some truth to it,” said Warriors star Klay Thompson, who went to high school at Santa Margarita and whose parents still live in Orange County, “especially growing up down here, and having his family down here. There’s got to  be … some truth to it.”Thompson, it must be noted, is bound for free agency in 2019.“I expect those questions for the next two years,” Thompson said. “That’s a long ways away.”After clearing cap space by trading Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson prior to last week’s deadline, the Lakers will have upward of $70 million in cap space that they will dangle in an effort to sign two max-level players.For obvious reasons that have nothing to do with his hometown, LeBron James will be one. George is the other.During his appearance at Saturday’s media day in a cavernous corner of the L.A. Convention Center, a chant broke out among the fans on hand as George answered a question about sneakers.“We want Paul! We want Paul!”The Palmdale native was greeted by boisterous pleas for him to sign with the Lakers in each of his two visits to Staples Center this season, and one season ticket holder went so far as to customize a No. 13 jersey bearing George’s name.Sitting several seats down from George, Russell Westbrook held court at his own dais Saturday. Westbrook, who attended Leuzinger High in Lawndale, was long expected to entertain signing in L.A. before signing a $205 million extension last summer that will keep him in OKC through 2023.Hearing the chant, Westbrook cut himself off mid-answer and said, “That’s out. Paul ain’t going nowhere, it’s over for that.”Reading the tea leaves has never been easier. He wants to be a Laker.But then Westbrook called George’s All-Star snub “outrageous” and George, who was later selected as an injury replacement, said that kind of support from last year’s league MVP made it “more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”Oh boy. The Lakers’ bid for George seemed over before it (legally) began.“I think that’s just the media,” George said, “they see a headline and immediately they jump to conclusions. It’s funny but at the end of the day I know where my decision lands, or what my decision is, and that’s all that matters.”Asked Saturday if he already knew what he would do this summer, George responded, “I don’t.”If he had left it there, the comments would have been innocuous enough.“I know what I feel is best,” he said, “but it’s a long ways until the end of the season.”Maybe, then, he does know.“It has a ton of layers to it,” said Love, who before being traded to Cleveland in 2014 was expected to be the Lakers’ top target when he hit free agency in 2015. “Having that aura around it of being the Lakers and having that tradition of excellence here as a franchise. … It’s one of those places that if you can make a name for yourself you can make a name for yourself anywhere.”That echoes comments Kobe Bryant made this week to ESPN’s Jalen Rose.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersEach of them have, at one time or another, been linked to the Lakers, either by hopeful fans, meddling agents or from the mouths of players themselves. The rumor mill has never run hotter than it does for Oklahoma City’s Paul George, the Palmdale native for whom the Lakers sacrificed $500,000 to make their affection known,George’s pending decision remains a point of intrigue around the NBA and especially this weekend as the NBA makes L.A. its temporary home.What DeRozan experienced two summers ago and George is encountering now are both part of a greater phenomenon.The Lakers have made it clear they will try to find their franchise savior in free agency; owner Jeanie Buss said last spring that not having an All-Star with the game in L.A. would “break my heart.”When a star player with L.A. roots hits the market, the Lakers will generally be first in line to sign him. And though it hasn’t happened over the past four offseasons, when the franchise has needed a savior more than ever, the outside expectation is that those players all want to sign with the Lakers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Heisler: NBA All-Star Game is too broken to fix, too big to drop “It takes a special person to want to play for this franchise and take the pressure that comes along with playing for this franchise,” Bryant said.The Lakers’ message each time they swing for the fences in free agency is less that the object of their affection is the perfect player for the organization, and more that his contract has come up at a point that is compatible with the organization’s timeline.The franchise will always bank on L.A. itself being the best recruiting pitch. Players love Los Angeles and, the logic follows, they should love playing here.“That’s going to remain to be said with all the top free agents as long as the NBA’s around,” Love said, “(and) as long as L.A.’s a great city. Which it always will be.” 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend courtside: Celebrity All-Star Game and Rising Stars Challenge updates last_img read more