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A head of next week’s elections, there was a passionate exchange of words Wednesday night as 15 University of Colorado Student Government candidates held a debate in front of about 100 students.

CUSG spring elections are held April 8-11.

Campus hot topics were deliberated among Representatives-at-Large and Tri-Executive candidates on two competing tickets — Inspire and Unite — as well as one independent ticket. The topics included student government budget, the 4/20 marijuana unofficial smoke-out on campus, the campus-wide smoking ban and keeping CU sustainable.

The first debate — a second will be held next week — consisted of each ticket answering eight questions that were formulated from student feedback. The initial ticket was given two minutes to respond, the second ticket had two minutes of rebuttal and then the initial ticket had a minute to conclude.

Before the debate, the Inspire and Unite tickets asked Connor Evans, the deputy election commissioner, to allow the sole independent candidate, junior Mitchell Fenton, to respond to the questions to ensure a fair debate, which Evans allowed.

After a tame start, the debate heated up during the third question where graduate student Chris Schaefbauer of Unite accused the Inspire party of offering to cut the Cultural Events Board’s budget and taking away funding for the TRANSforming Gender Symposium.

Inspire’s Alexis Scobie, a junior, fired back and said she took offense to the personal attack.

“At the end of the day, the people that I represent are the Buffs,” Scobie said. “The people I represent are 36,000 students.”

The debate lasted about 90 minutes.

The Inspire representatives touted transparency and proper representation as defining aspects of the ticket and proposed creating a new website, “We the Buffs,” featuring a student forum for participants to become more involved in the student government.

The Unite representatives backed their ticket by saying that they want to unite to represent the diverse student body, as the ticket’s name suggests.

“We want the Unite to represent everyone,” said sophomore Ellie Roberts.

CU junior Bill Shrum said he wasn’t pleased with the amount of bickering throughout the event.

“I think it is a shame,” said Shrum. “In a lot of cases it seemed like they were back-and-forth personal attacks.”

He added that he appreciated the passion both sides expressed.

The next debate will be Tuesday at 7:15 in Hellems 252 on campus.