Q&A: SGA presidential candidate, Axel Brown

     Starting June 1, 2022, former senator for military affairs Axel Brown will be UCCS’ SGA president. Axel will lead with current speaker of the senate Aidan Clark as his vice president. The pair are running unopposed in the upcoming student government elections. 

     Brown was born and raised in New York City and moved to Colorado in 2014 after joining the military. Once he completed his time in the Army, he decided to make Colorado his new home with his children. Brown has been a member of SGA since fall 2019. Axel is a junior majoring in social work with a minor in criminal justice and human resources.  

     The Scribe sat down with Brown to ask some questions about his life, time in SGA and plans for the executive branch.  

Editor’s Note: Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

Do you have a philosophy going into this new role? 

     It’s definitely a quality of equity. As far as the culture on campus, it is not where it needs to be. Aidan is going to get mad at me but I think SGA now is failing as far as student engagement, because there’s supposed to be that bridge between students and faculty and there’s really not any. I mean, it is COVID-19, I understand that. But at the same time, there’s not inclusivity and events between a couple of people you see everybody’s just doing their own things like you got the Black Student Union over here doing this and then you got Asian Pacific Islander Student Union doing this.  

     I understand that they can do their own events, but why aren’t there more events that are coming together? Why aren’t there more things happening where we see more diversity? The school spent a lot of money building that MOSAIC office over there, but there is not a lot of people in there besides people of color. Everybody’s welcome. It is a safe place for people of color, I understand that. But at the same time, you’re not seeing that culture here where we need to be together and make the school what it can be.  

     Everybody here was jealous of schools like CU Boulder, all those other schools because they see what they do. We can do the same thing here. We just got to be inclusive, got to include everyone and we got to promote equity and inclusivity. We can do it. It’s going to be tough, but we will do it.  

How do you plan on addressing the lack of student engagement with SGA? 

     Me and Aidan have had multiple talks about it. I told him, “Hey, I looked at the election from last year and only 1,000 people voted.” He agreed that’s something that we have to aim to change. We know it’s just tough in COVID-19 with a lot of people taking online classes, but at the same time if there are 24,000 students enrolled on campus. If we’re only getting 1,000 votes, the SGA is failing as a whole. Don’t know exactly how we will address it, but we will, and starting out we have a lot of events coming. 

How do you feel about the current state of SGA? 

     As we’re in the middle of the year, I’m not really seeing SGA being used for anything then as a purse. SGA is lacking in aspects of getting that student engagement and interacting. You could go around and ask these clubs when was the last time that the president or somebody from SGA showed up to their meeting? There’s no cohesion there. They just come on Thursday to approve, approve, approve, then leave. SGA is supposed to show support of other clubs on campus. It’s not that we don’t just have to just approve the money to them. It makes no sense to me. You could do more, and there will be more done. 

What was something you noticed that you want to change in SGA? 

     Understanding how senate allocates money in theirs to funds for students to be able to like go do things. The one thing I did hate about Senate was some senators there that really tried to keep funds away from students that wanted to do things for their clubs. Without saying the money should just be like unlimited. Extended, we wouldn’t have any, but some of the decisions that were being made while I was in to not approve some things which is like not O.K. with me 

     I understand that you got to be stricter with the Carryforward fund. But at the end of the day, that rolls over, and I don’t think people understand that. A lot of people don’t know about the Carryforward fund. They just think you come to BAC and once your BAC funds run out, that’s it.  

     That’s the problem with student government. Why don’t a lot of people know about the Carryforward fund, and how to use it or how to write a bill? If we taught them how to write a bill, more clubs would appreciate us. They are still coming to us for money, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s why we’re there. But a lot of clubs don’t know about the Carryforward fund. They don’t know how to write a bill. There’s a lot of things that SGA can do better. 

What made you decide to run for the executive office? 

     Aidan understands where I’m coming from, and I understand where he is coming from, and we feel like we can put that together. Amidst COVID-19, of course we have a lot of fun things we want to do, but it’s about the business things that we have to handle on campus that haven’t been handled for some time. We know what we got to do, and we know how we got to do it. It’s just exciting. It sucks because people don’t understand the value of student government, and the actual power you have. But hopefully they’ll see what change we can make.