SGA presidential ticket candidates speak on their platforms in election debate

On Feb. 26, SGA presidential candidates took the stage to share their platforms and debate the opposing ticket.  

UCCSLead and Chancellor’s Leadership Class Coordinator Cody Parish moderated the event, which was divided into two segments, one for the presidential tickets and the other for the senate candidates. The presidential segment involved a debate, but the senator and director of finance candidates were all running unopposed.  

The presidential debate format included an opening statement from each ticket. After the opening statements, Parish asked one ticket a question, and they were allowed to respond for one minute before the other side got a one-minute rebuttal. The side that spoke first then got 30 seconds for a rebuttal. 

Approximately 25 students attended the election debate. 

Presidential ticket debate  

Presidential candidate Aidan Clark and vice presidential candidate Carson Hodges are running against presidential candidate Mason Sowanick and vice presidential candidate Dale Mueller. 

Clark and Hodges’ opening statement focused on advocating for better ADA accommodations, better security measures, a greater sense of community and a more inclusive campus. 

Sowanick and Mueller’s opening statement focused on the improvement of well-being, health and unity of the campus community following the recent tragedies. They also want to improve communication with students by ensuring concise information is provided with the most important details. 

“People are overwhelmed with useless information that they don’t always read, and we need to make sure they get what is relevant to them, what’s important to them,” Mueller said. 

Sowanick and Mueller believe the biggest challenges students face on campus are a lack of community and a lack of safety. Sowanick encouraged students to reach out to SGA with their concerns related to safety and community so they can create an open dialogue to find solutions. 

“We need to tackle problems at their source and provide for everyone who seeks resources here,” Mueller said. 

Clark and Hodges plan to increase diversity and accessibility on campus by supporting multicultural clubs and ensuring students have physical access to everything on campus. Clark noted there’s a lot of issues with the campus elevators and automatic doors, which can interfere with student learning. 

The duo plans to improve accessibility and diversity on campus by working with the groups who are most impacted.  “There are people who are truly impacted by the oppression and lack of diversity on our campus, and they need to be the ones whose voices are uplifted,” Clark said. 

Sowanick and Mueller agreed with Clark and Hodges on the importance of multicultural clubs. “I would like to … make sure that they have their funding and that these clubs have the freedom to express themselves and share their culture and their world with the community here on campus,” Sowanick said. 

They also want to make campus better for commuter students by improving communication about events and by making parking and the shuttles more accessible.  

Clark and Hodges emphasized students will always feel welcome on campus under their leadership. They believe that they can make SGA more visible by hosting more community events, like Friendsgiving, that allow members of SGA to connect with students on a student-to-student basis rather than as representatives.  

Sowanick and Mueller believe they work well together because they are both focused on problem-solving. They see themselves as very approachable people who students can feel comfortable coming to. 

Both campaigns support the Student Activity Fee Increase and the Green Action Fund Fee Referendums. 

Ballot referendums 

The election ballot will have two referendums for the Green Action Fund Fee and the Student Activity Fee. Both referendums involve an increase in student fees. 

The SAF currently funds SGA and, by extension, clubs and organizations, riverrun and part of the Student Life Department.  

The referendum calls for an increase from a $16.06 fee for the fall and spring semesters ($8.03 in the summer semester) to $30.40 per semester ($15.20 in the summer). This would give SGA a budget of around $673,892 to fund clubs and host events, nearly doubling the budget they had for the 23-24 year. 

If passed, the GAF fee will fund sustainable projects by students, staff and faculty on campus. This fee would cost students $6.39 in spring and fall semesters and $3.20 in the summer semester. 

The SGA election week will begin on March 4 and end on March 8. Students can learn more about the candidates, referendums and voting process on SGA’s website. 

Photo from Scribe archives.