USS candidates share platforms, goals with members of PRIDE!Kent

Elise Franco

Candidates for the upcoming Undergraduate Student Senate elections attended last night’s PRIDE!Kent meeting in an attempt to help members understand what each candidate stands for and why voting in the election is important.

Katie Hale, candidate for executive director, said she has seven main platform issues but presented the three that members of PRIDE!Kent would be most interested in, including keeping the Rathskellar open later, providing all student organizations with Web page access and issuing a weekend shuttle bus downtown for students between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. because this is when most students are going to and from the bars.

“I think it serves two main points – safety in terms of lessening drunk driving and also helping students who usually walk late at night,” Hale said. “I know PRIDE! had a problem last year with this, so it’s a safety precaution that is necessary to take.”

Preston Mitchum, current senator for student advancement and also a candidate for executive director, said he wants to increase accommodation and communication among the student organizations. He said he also wants to improve student retention rates by promoting bigger and better programming for students, as well as spending student dollars effectively.

He added he wants to increase the USS accessibility to students by enforcing their office hours, because he doesn’t feel the USS can truly represent the student body if it isn’t open to it.

Several other candidates also addressed members of PRIDE!Kent including Jonathan Bey, candidate for governmental affairs. Bey said he wants to increase voter registration on campus.

“Student voting is lackluster across the country,” he said. “I want to set up voter registration booths in the Student Center and other high-traffic areas around campus.”

Bey also talked about the importance of getting Kent State off the list of top university offenders in illegal downloading by setting up a university sponsored file sharing system.

Candidate for student relations Elizabeth Eckels said she wants to continue holding president’s round table sessions, where presidents of all student organizations get together to discuss important issues.

“I want to make a virtual round table where the organization presidents can log on at their convenience and post on a forum,” she said.

Eckels said this will make it much easier for all organization presidents to participate because many of their schedules conflict for actual sit-down round table sessions.

After platforms were completed, members and visitors sat in a circle and played a game to loosen up the atmosphere and get to know one another better.

A giant ball with questions on it was thrown around the room. Whichever question the person’s right hand landed on is what he or she had to answer.

Questions ranged from, “Who is your favorite Lost Boy?” to “Jen or Angelina?” to Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ‘done it?'”

PRIDE!Kent President Kevin Casimer closed the meeting by announcing that the AOL Instant Messenger screen name, PRIDEKent, is now available for students who have questions about their sexuality and need someone anonymous to talk to or for students who need to discuss any other type of LGBT issues.

Contact minority affairs reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].