Associated Student Body executive officer candidates explained and defended their platforms Wednesday night to a full auditorium in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.
Presidential candidates Wister Hitt, Elam Miller, Emily Tipton and Dylan Wood spoke about holding the university administration accountable, improving transparency on ASB and increasing diversity on boards and councils.
Tipton spoke about ways she has increased diversity in the past that would help her increase minority representation in the future.
“As the director of First Year Experience, one of my main goals was to expand minority representation on first-year programs,” Tipton said. “I was able to expand ASB programs to include transfer members by increasing our Transfer Board as well as increasing the minority population of freshman programs by, I believe, 8 percent.”
Wood said as a student involved in other organizations, he would know how to successfully organize his Cabinet to deal with a busy schedule.
“I think the main thing is getting Cabinet members who are efficient and good at what they do,” Wood said. “So, I’ve already planned out some Cabinet picks, and some would be open for an application, but you need the best person for the best job. You have to delegate people to go to meetings for you.”
Miller explained his thoughts on the current shared governance model and how he plans to improve it. This shared governance model is a model for how legislation is passed and how the university responds to student government and the faculty and staff.
“I think we really need something written down, something codified and something signed by administration to hold them accountable to our voice,” Miller said. “Right now, we’re just a suggested body, and a shared governance model would bring that suggested body into something that’s not just a cute little voice but something that’s a strong, powerful voice on this campus.”
Hitt said he would improve communications and accountability between ASB and the university by holding regular town hall meetings.
“If this administration is successfully elected, we will implement an annual State of the University Address, which will be held by a member of the Faculty Senate, the chancellor of this university as well as the ASB president,” Hitt said. “That will grant that every single person, faculty, student and administration has a concrete agenda going forth for the future of that year.”
Judicial chair candidates Alex Crouch and Bea Tisher gave their positions on doing away with the current “two-strike” conduct policy and implementing a new system for the judicial process.
“It’s not official yet, but you could possibly look to seeing a new system in August,” Tisher said. “It’s going to be something a little more dependent on the actual policy that’s been violated, rather than this blanket statement … This is going to be much more based on the severity of it and give everyone a more equal chance.”
Crouch also said the two-strike policy has not worked and isn’t “applicable” for the community.
“I had the opportunity to speak with the director of Conduct yesterday,” Crouch said. “I want students and our community members to be a part of the solution. When we get rid of (the two-strike policy), we need a policy to replace it. That’s why I want to do a forum and a community group to help us replace the policy.”
Attorney general candidates Katherine Sistrunk and Austin Fiala discussed changes to the ASB Constitution and Code.
“A lot of my revisions and improvements come from Title V of the Code, which specifically regards electioneering, election rules and regulations,” Fiala said. “In terms of actual changing, I want to codify Section 113 specifically regarding about social media campaigning and group messaging campaigning.”
Sistrunk shared how her experience on the Attorney General’s Cabinet has prepared her to become attorney general.
“I really understand what the position takes,” Sistrunk said. “My goals are to have a more transparent body of rules and, with the constitution, making it more accessible and allowing students’ voices to be heard not only through campus elections but through understanding what ASB is and what we do.”
Vice presidential candidate Walker Abel is running unopposed, and he shared his plans to run an efficient Senate in which meaningful legislation is passed.
“In my time, I want to make ASB more willing and able,” Abel said. “ASB needs to be willing to do what’s right. We need to be willing to act on the issues that affect students on campus.”
Jonathan Cox is also running unopposed for treasurer and said he plans to increase support, transparency and creativity in the Treasury Department.
“I really want to try increasing funding as much as possible,” Cox said. “I want to release monthly statements about our budget and our balance.”
No students officially filed to run for the secretary position.
Bennett Wilfong serves on the Election Commission and moderated for the debate. He said he thought the night went well.
“We had some qualified candidates,” Wilfong said. “They explained their platforms clearly and precisely.”
The questions asked during the debate came from a Google form that was posted on the group’s Facebook page and sent out to ASB senators.