For those of you who don’t know, the basketball team’s own Markel Starks is running for GUSA VP just a year after Henry Sims’ second-place finish on a ticket with Jed Feiman. And just so you didn’t have to go to the GUSA VP debate on Wednesday night, I did. It’s a *little* bit out of my comfort zone as a reporter but I figured it was a good idea. As a result, I wasn’t able to partake in the amazing-sounding GUSA VP debate drinking game that our friends over 4E came up with.
Starks’ running mate, Dan LaMagna, didn’t exactly cover himself in glory in the presidential debate a few days ago, so the bar wasn’t set very high. I’m told (by people who were actually there, of course) that LaMagna’s performance was most notable for his phone going off during the debate and his request for a mid-debate bathroom break. In my opinion Starks, who I consider one of the better interviews on the team, safely cleared that rather low bar on Wednesday night. While he was clearly less polished than the other VP candidates on the dais- as to be expected given the vast amounts of experience those guys have with GUSA matters- his answers to most questions were articulate and, at the very least, direct and different. The performance may not be enough to push Starks past Chicken Madness on my ballot, but it’s a lot closer than I thought it would be. Read on after the jump for some of his choicest quotes.
Unlike in the press room at Verizon Center, there was no podium which reporters could place their recorders on. So I turned to my trusty computer, Microsoft Word and its recorder to get these quotes. As a result, portions of what Starks said were inaudible to me upon review. I’ve also chopped out the less relevant/interesting parts of some of his statements. Enjoy!
“I never would’ve thought I’d be in this position… so to my man Dan Lamagna thank you for inviting me, for choosing me to run with you.”
“[Dan] and I went to the same high school, so we know each other pretty well.”
On a “primary goal” for his campaign:
Markel focused on something he called the “Georgetown App” that would allow students to get their Georgetown information in once place:
“Sometimes things are a little bit unclear…. [it’ll be] for every Georgetown student to see what’s in Leo’s, what GUTS buses are running [and] news on campus.”
“One of our main goals [is that] we want to be able to bring everyone together.”
On the impact that political views would have on a GUSA Pres/VP’s impact in office.
The answers preceding Markel’s had had a lot to do with religion, although everyone was quite adamant that they wouldn’t allow their political views to alter their decision-making process:
“We’re more about practical [things]. If it makes sense, we’re gonna go with it. If it doesn’t, then why bother. Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t want to scurry away from Jesuit ideals, because we obviously go to a Jesuit school.”
“[It’s a] humungous issue. I live in Village A, it’s rat heaven. It’s just rats everywhere. Rats, mice… I even googled it to be able to tell what kind of rats were running around.
We have the rats because people aren’t willing to do their part. Some people don’t want to take their trash out until they do see a mouse or a rat nearby.”
On being able to balance the demands of GUSA VP with playing on the basketball team.
“The basketball team is on camera a good [portion] of the time, so why not use that to our advantage?”
“Before and after practice I can do videos… have a daily, possibly weekly video just to keep you up to date with what we’re doing, to be more transparent, to make ourselves more available.”
In a rare (and refreshing) moment of honesty in a debate, Markel admitted that he had no idea who the previous GUSA president and VP were until he had been invited to run for GUSA, and said he wouldn’t let that be the case if he were elected”
“Until I got invited to do this, I didn’t know who Mike [Meaney] and Greg [Laverriere] were… I think Daniel and I want to make ourselves more available to everybody.”
Markel began his response by mentioning that he doesn’t have to eat at Leo’s that much since he gets team meals, so he couldn’t really sympathize with the rest of us too much, but quickly won the crowd back over:
“I’ve been to Late Night and [sometimes] it’s nasty.”
“First of all, [I’ll] personally go to President DiGioia and say ‘Mr. President… can we make the food in Leo’s better?’ It’s as simple as that”
On charity, outreach, and Georgetown as a part of the city
First, he talked about the charity work the team does every year, and how it was this year:
“It was a good time. We had a lot of people come, a lot of people [came] in support of the team, the university… [next year] we’d probably take two or three buses if people wanted to come see the community”
This question was a little about diversity and more about the ways to foster diverse interactions among the campus community. The other candidates had plans that mostly involved fairs and GUSA-run get-togethers, but Starks went in the opposite direction and gave what was, in my opinion, his best answer, not the least because it strayed from the generic, bureaucratic answers the other candidates had been giving.
“First of all, it’s about who wants to be diverse… Georgetown already is diverse. We have people from all over the country, we have people from all over the world come to this school. It’s as simple as that. It’s all about who wants to reach out, who wants to get to know who. Do I want to get to know you? If so, that’s diversity. [Gestures at moderator Rich Rinaldi] I’m black, you’re white!”
“It doesn’t do us any good to come up with all these ‘great’ ideas. Guess what? If BSA wants to get to know The Corp, BSA is gonna go into The Corp [and say] Wassup?”
And finally, the question that will keep Sports Information up all night:
There was then, the inevitable purely basketball question. Our colleagues over at Voice Page 13 submitted a question that the moderator read about whether Hollis Thompson would declare for the NBA draft at the end of this year. First, Starks played to the crowd and asked if the crowd thought Hollis should go. After a resounding no, Starks smiled and, with tongue planted firmly in cheek described Hollis as one of the strangest people he knew and said:
“No, I don’t think he’s gonna declare for the NBA draft, but don’t be surprised if he does.”
One-Sentence summary of the campaign:
Unlike some of the other candidates, Starks eschewed using about 15 verbal semicolons to fit a second stump speech into “one” sentence and merely responded “We’re all in.”
He kept it simple in his closing remarks too, the gist of which was the following:
“Don’t be afraid to talk to us. I think I’m a likeable guy, I’m not afraid to talk to anybody”
And thus ends what will hopefully be the last transcription of a GUSA debate that I will ever do.