UA students question candidates on eve of municipal election

By Adrian Morris

Students came to the Zone, in Bryant Denny Stadium Monday to ask questions and share their opinions with the Tuscaloosa city council and school board candidates.

The event, held the day before the Aug. 25 election, was sponsored and hosted by the University of Alabama’s Student Government Association. The common theme between candidates and students was the University of Alabama’s role in the Tuscaloosa city school system.

“Tuscaloosa need stronger communication between the university and city schools,” said Katie Jung, a graduate student majoring in education.

Tuscaloosa’s city school system, including the University of Alabama, is ranked 104 out of 125 in Alabama. However, Auburn University’s city school system is ranked 14 out of 125 said Jung.

Jung said the university could provide tutors and volunteers to help students with their homework.

Why elections are important to UA

James Fowler, the Student Government Association’s Vice President for External Affairs and a junior majoring in business, said the elections affect the university’s ability to hire and maintain professors.

“We are all a community and we need to stick together,” said Fowler.

Since professors will enroll their children in the Tuscaloosa school system, it’s important the school system provides their children with a good education.

Fowler said the two-hour event was a success, despite the short notice given to students. Some students had only received a notice of the event from an e-mail sent yesterday morning.

The Student Government Association advertised the event through some student groups, the university’s television station, and an article in the university’s newspaper, the Crimson White.

Willing but unable to vote

While Fowler said he will vote, some students at the event are not able to vote. A small group of students will not be able to vote because they are not from Tuscaloosa, but some sororities and fraternities have organized visits to polling locations.

Mike Zeilner, opposing candidate for the 6th District of the Tuscaloosa city council, said even though some students could not vote, they are now informed about the election process and can vote next year.

“City elections affect the university because the university needs to cooperate with the city for some building projects,” said Zeilner.

Not enough food

While the event was a great chance for students and candidates to meet each other, the shortage of food did deter some students.

“I think they [SGA] did a great job, but I think they need more food for next time. As soon as the food was gone, so were the students,” said Zeilner.