USG candidates discuss platforms at open forum

Jenna Staul

Candidates for the senatorial branch of the new Undergraduate Student Government spoke for the first time about their platforms for candidacy yesterday in an open forum at the Rathskeller. Of the 17 total candidates vying for positions in USG’s senate, only nine appeared at the event.

Ladon Neal, a member of USG’s election commission, said while he felt the candidates in attendance were well-prepared, he was disappointed that many others did not attend.

“It shows that they are not willing to take the initiative to do what it takes to be successful,” Neal said of the candidates who did not come to the forum.

Nine senatorial positions are open in the new student government.

Yesterday was the senatorial candidates only formal opportunity to speak out about their platforms. Katie Hale, USS’s current executive director, said the expanded number of positions means candidates will have to take it upon themselves to campaign.

“USS does as much as we can,” Hale said, adding that USS’s Web site is currently down and cannot feature information about the candidates like it has done in the past. “But when it comes to deciding who students are going to vote for, the candidates will have to be ambitious enough to get their message out there.”

Candidates who did attend the forum touted their experience and plans if elected to office before participating in a brief question and answer session.

Heather Seedhouse — Senator for Colleges of Arts and Sciences

• Said her primary focus if elected will be to keep students a priority.

• Would like to make students more well informed about curriculum within the college.

• Said she aims to keep lines of communication open between students and faculty.

Joe Derkin — Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences

• Hopes to better equip classrooms in Bowman Hall.

• Said professors should no longer have to provide classroom materials.

Joshua Lea — Senator for the College of Nursing

• Said he wants to start a mentoring program to help nursing majors better adjust to the rigors of the major.

• Would like to make the nursing program more gender neutral and accepting of male and minority students.

• Said he would like professors within the college to be certified in education.

Ryan Bernstein — Senator for the College of Business Administration

• Would like to create an Internet “suggestion box” where students within the college can voice concerns.

• Plans to conduct a survey within the college to better gauge the needs of students.

• Said, if elected, he will consider all students who take classes within the college, not just majors, in his decisions made on USG.

Jessica Lumpp — Senator for the College for Communication

• Plans to make herself accessible for students to voice their concerns.

• Feels that Liberal Education Requirements should be more geared toward the students’ major and interests.

• Would like to see more computer media classes offered within the college.

Michael Turk — Senator for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design

• Said he would address the individual concerns of architecture students, such as acquiring funds for studying abroad.

• Would like to make sure the wants and needs of students within the college are addressed.

• Said if elected, he will resign from other activities to focus solely on his work with USG.

Sam Marcum — Senator for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design

• Wants to expand scholarship opportunities for students within the college.

• Wants to increase the availability of technology.

• Pledges to reach out to all students regardless of class level.

Tim Muir — Senator for the Honors College

• Said he would like to reach out to honors students who do not live in Stopher and Johnson halls, who he feels are sometimes out of touch with events occurring in the college.

• Wants to encourage upperclassman to join the Honors College if eligible.

• Said poor communication is the greatest issue facing the college, which he hopes to change.

Michelle Wilkes — College of the Arts

• Plans to meet with the dean of the college twice a month.

• Plans to utilize listservs within the college to share information with students.

• Said students can contact her with concerns and complaints.

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].