Student Government Election 2017: Presidential Candidates and Platforms
On Wednesday, March 1st and Thursday, March 2nd, students at UT will elect their next student body president and vice president to replace the outgoing Kevin Helgren and Binna Kim. To help prepare you for the vote, here is a primer on the executive alliance candidates and their key platform points.
Alejandrina Guzman is a fourth-year government and Mexican American studies major who is involved with the Multicultural Engagement Center, Texas Orange Jackets, and the Disabilities and Inclusion Agency. Micky Wolf, a third-year Plan II, business, and psychology student, is a current Student Government representative and the co-president of Texas for Expanding Opportunity. Their platform points are:
Unity Starts with UT: encourage dialogue between diverse students and work closely with the Multicultural Engagement and Gender and Sexuality Centers
Access Granted, Not Denied: help students with disabilities by improving accessibility to off-campus housing locations and UTPD vans
Be the SolUTion: fund the Interpersonal Violence Peer Support Program and expand resident assistant training to prevent sexual assault
Forty Acres for the Price of 39: create a textbook exchange and an online housing database, and expand paid career-oriented opportunities on campus
What Starts Here Serves Austin: integrate service opportunities into FIGs and increase the impact of UT’s day of service, The Project
Rally for the Rivalry: work to revive the annual UT-A&M football game
Third-year government major Isaiah Carter is the current Student Government Chief of Staff, and is involved with multiple campus organizations, including Texas Wranglers, Texas Silver Spurs, and Camp Texas. Sydney O’Connell, a third-year corporate communications major, is a member of Alpha Phi and the co-founder of Not On My Campus, an initiative against sexual assault. Their platform points are:
Make Security a Priority: expand the SURE Walk program and the map of safe walking routes, and create more police call boxes and Riverside bus routes
Welcoming Diversity: increase funding for the Diversity and Inclusion Agency, and recruit more minority students from Title I high schools
UT Homecoming: plan and implement an annual fall Homecoming event
UT-OU Holiday: create a holiday on the Friday before the OU game
A Place to Pray: create a Multi-Faith Center to bring together students of all faiths and religions and provide them with a place to pray or meet
Align with the IX: partner with campus resources to expand education and awareness against interpersonal violence and sexual assault
Turn the Forty Acres Green: increase recycling in dorms and at football games, and promote sustainability and conservation initiatives
Food for Fines: allow students to pay parking tickets with canned donations
Blake Burley, a third-year government and philosophy student, is involved with Texas Silver Spurs and the Campus Men’s Initiative, and has worked with Student Government as the Leadership and Service Policy Director. Third-year finance student Robert Guerra has served as a legislative assistant at the Texas Capitol, and is part of the University Catholic Church and Kappa Alpha. Their platform points are:
Your Safety, Our Priority: expand the SURE Walk program, increase police presence and the number of call boxes on campus, improve lighting on campus, provide free ridesharing, and establish free parking at the SSB
Real Students, Real Problems: create a Fall Break, improve PCL study spaces, make transcripts free, streamline course registration, provide healthier campus food, and create an active Twitter account for student problems
Many Horns, One Herd: create a student section and improve seating at football games, provide buses to and from games and better tailgating space, and have a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
If none of these candidates reaches 50% in the first round of voting, a runoff election will be held one to two weeks later between the top two tickets. This rule can have exciting and important consequences: in 2016, the runoff election finished with a margin of under 150 votes, and in 2015, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu won only 27% in the first round but jumped to 59% in the runoff to win the election.
In addition to the race for president and vice president, all representative positions in the Student Government Assembly are up for election, along with a number of other positions, such as University Co-op Board of Directors and Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief. Don’t forget to log on at <http://utexasvote.org/> and vote!