The Student Government Association held debates Monday in the TMB auditorium for candidates running for SGA executive positions.
The debates were split into two sections. The first half involved candidates Dylan Jones, Hayden Clay, and Jesslan Sharp. Jones is running for vice president of organizational affairs, Clay is running for vice president of the Student Senate and Sharp is running for SGA president. All three candidates are running unopposed.
The moderator asked the candidates questions concerning a variety of different issues, including improving student voter turnout and encouraging diversity within the SGA. All three candidates expressed opinions that the SGA lacks diversity.
“Its the same group of people that apply for student senate,” said Dylan Jones. “It’s because we aren’t going out and encouraging people who aren’t involved already on campus.”
Jesslan Sharp said the SGA should reach out to “the smaller organizations on campus that aren’t being represented” on a personal level. Hayden Clay argued that his plan to email organization presidents directly would bring more diversity to the SGA weekly meetings.
All three candidates also provided plans to voice students’ opinions.
“I think the most important thing is to go out, personally, and make students feel like they are wanted, like their opinions are wanted,” Sharp said.
Clay pointed out that the student senate is “the most representative body of the SGA.” He argued that the most effective way to project the thoughts and opinions of students is to draft resolutions that would be sent to administration.
Jones said that the executive officers, especially the SGA president, could be used more to make student concerns known to administration.
The second half of the debate concerned the three candidates running for vice president of student activities. The candidates are Emily Arledge, Morgan Burnett and Ranger Rumrill.
The moderator asked them if they would be for or against a flat, student activities fee that would be charged to all students in order to fund more campus events. Both Burnett and Rumrill argued against the fee, while Arledge supported it.
Burnett said that students already have several expenses, and an extra fee could be asking too much of students or their parents, depending on who is paying for everything. Rumrill offered another perspective in his dissent.
“It would be unfair to students who don’t go to events,” he said.
Arledge said that if every student paid the fee, it would allow for the planning of both more events on campus, and better ones as well.
The candidates also proposed ways to get more of the student body involved in campus events. Rumrill said that more should be done to increase morale at the end of the year. He suggested the campus hold a “winterfest” a few weeks
before Christmas holidays.
Burnett said that more attention should be given to dual-enrollment students and students with families. He said that a music festival would be a good potential event.
Alrledge expressed a desire to see a big tailgate put together, as well as making campus events feel more inclusive to everyone involved.
The SGA will hold elections for offices today from 12:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students may vote online at http://www.jsu.edu/elections.