By Charlie Smart and Mairead Loschi
The race for undergraduate representative to the Board of Trustees heated up Tuesday night as Kevin Alvarez and Brandon Luxkaranayagam faced off in a formal debate.
Personal attacks were mixed with a serious discourse on the future of the University during the hour long debate in the student union. One of the most common topics of discussion was that of concern over the nearly 40 million dollar budget cut the university faces in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s recent budget proposal. Kevin Alvarez, current Speaker of the UConn Undergraduate Student Senate suggested focusing on raising money through donations. He also said that tuition hikes would be a poor solution to UConn’s budget gap and cited his history fighting increased housing rates.
Luxkaranayagamhad had a clear opinion when asked where he thought budget cuts should be made, saying that the first reductions should be from administrator salaries. Alvarez said simply that he does not yet know where the budget cuts would come from and that it would be his goal as board of trustees representative to figure that out.
The debate turned personal when Alvarez addressed Luxkaranayagam’s tenure as a student government senator. He brought up the fact that Luxkaranayagam was recently removed from his senate seat due to frequent absence from meetings. Luxkaranayagam was quick to respond to these allegations, saying how in his opinion senate meetings were often lengthy and drawn out and he had other obligations.
As a final question, the moderators asked both Alvarez and Luxkaranayagam how they would reconcile the two year term of the board of trustees representative with the fact that they would be seniors at the time of assuming the position. Luxkaranayagam discussed his plans to potentially stay at UConn for a fifth year to finish his coursework. Alvarez on the other hand made it clear that he would not be staying for the full two years but thought that this wasn’t an issue saying, “in that one year I will be able to achieve more than any of my opponents will be able to in two.”
Polls will be open for this election from March 4 to March 6 at vote.uconn.edu.