Presidential campaigns advocate for student voice

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Following two weeks of debates, endorsements and speaking with various organizations—Greek life, minority groups and international students, to name a few—the SGA elections for president, vice president positions and senatorial candidates will commence on Monday, Feb. 27. The four-way presidential heat-up consisted of sophomores Rita Passaglia and Dylan McCloskey and juniors Jay Hardin and Daniel Carter, each of whom stressed for a change to the SLU community and a voice for those without.

Whether by creating Facebook pages to promote their platforms, handing out T-shirts or discussing their calls-to-action while in office, each candidate attempted to get his or her name out to the students to win over their votes. McCloskey was no exception as Ken Bone, formerly appearing during the second presidential debate, endorsed him for the SGA election. “I texted [Bone] to bring him to an event on campus last semester, and that’s why I have his number,” McCloskey said. “He saw I was running for president, and he said he would endorse me. He typed out a long letter which he put on Facebook, and it was kind of surprising. He had some really nice words to say.”

As part of McCloskey’s campaign, he promised to advocate for better food options at McDonnell Douglas Hall, to provide aid for a proper transition for transfer students so they can feel more connected to the SLU community upon arriving and to accomplish carbon neutrality in residence halls to ensure campus sustainability.

Concurrently with McCloskey, Carter elaborated on his push to improve student life, but he also saw fit to deliberate the $16.7 million operating loss with the Magis Operational Excellence Program. “The Magis Operational Excellence Program probably started in the public eye most likely a year ago,” Carter explained. “Its idea is to eliminate approximately a $17 million deficit and move this to around a $20 million operating surplus. My issue, though, is that there has been zero student oversight within the Magis Operational Excellence Program and very little communication,” Carter said. “One of the impacts of the plan will be a significant number of layoffs—with a lot of these changes coming to the university, students haven’t been able to have a voice and weigh them out, so my solution is to create an ad-hoc committee to start a conversation with the faculty about what cuts will occur, in which students will and will not find acceptable.”

Improving communication within the student body, especially regarding the Magis Operational Excellence Program, was paramount throughout Carter’s campaign as he spoke with Chartered Student Organizations, but he and Hardin also extended this common goal to “giving a voice to the voiceless.”

“I have been able to work with a diverse group of people, and having that ability to see other people’s opinions who come from different cultures, backgrounds, religions or sexual orientations is very important even if you don’t always agree with what they say,” Hardin elaborated. “As a minority student, I understand what it’s like to be at a university that is predominantly white—it is extremely important to adequately represent that smaller percentage and understand where they are coming from.”

As president of SGA, the role of delegation and accountability was crucial amongst the VP positions—running for VP of International Affairs, Faisal Alateeg mentioned that, “Informing students is the primary focus.”

With the travel ban in effect, he concluded that educating the students and offering support was the central concern as, “Students cannot do anything about the government laws, but they can work together to provide advocacy.”

Passaglia’s campaign, “EMPOWER,” promised to provide a strong relationship with students and administrators and stated that lack of knowledge about resources should not be a stigma to the student population. Passaglia declined to further comment about the campaign—however, she and VP of Academic Affairs representative Jordan Glassman share the common belief that no power in SGA is given without the students.