Meet the Undergraduate Student Government Candidates

Kent State students will have an opportunity to vote in this year’s USG election and cast their vote for next year’s officers.

“Senators for colleges are elected,” said Megan Milam, Junior Political Science Major and this year’s Election Commissioner. “Anyone can vote for directors and president, but college senators are voted on by their own college.”

According to USG’s website, there are 25 officials, elected each spring to serve a one-year term. There are eight directors that cover specific areas of student life and sixteen senators that cover different university demographics of students.

The goal of USG is to provide a direct line of communication between students and university administration. They work as the voice of the students and always put students first.

“Many people are not very knowledgeable about what USG is,” Milam said. “It’s not a political group, it’s just for the students. We focus on things like mental health, student debt, and freedom of speech.”

Candidates are given a packet with roles and positions listed, a candidacy agreement, and rules of campaigning. Students are required to collect 226 undergraduate petition signatures in order to run for their preferred position. 

“We push that people are focusing on the students,” Milam said. “This year we’re really making sure people campaign on their own time, and when they’re in the office and in meetings they are focused.”

Elections are March 10 and 11 from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. Students can vote online at kentstateUSG.com or on flashline.kent.edu. Write-in voting options are also available, however the candidate written in would not appear on the ballot and cannot participate in any USG organized events.

Annie Zwisler covers politics and USG. Contact her at [email protected] 

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Candidates for the student body president and director positions: 

Laith Tabbaa 

Student Body President Candidate

Q: What is your platform?

A: “I am running to represent the study body as President of Kent State University.

As your next Student Body President, I would like to be the voice of the people and value all student feedback, while focusing on three main things:

 

1. The Period Project

2. Diversity around campus

3. Funding for your student organizations

 

The first project would expand the Period Project in order to create an equitable campus and address a major need among students who menstruate. 37% of students surveyed indicated they have been financially unable to purchase menstrual products on their own.  As a result, 98% of students said that the Period Project is an asset to the community and should continue. Keeping these resources accessible will improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

 

Moreover, as someone who grew up in the United States as a minority, diversity has always played a major role in my life. Arabic people didn’t treat me as Arabic since I moved to the States, and many Americans didn’t treat me as an American because of my cultural background. However, when I came to Kent State, nobody questioned that I could call myself a Golden Flash. This washed away all boundaries of culture, nationality, and ethnicity. I would like to emphasize this attitude of full acceptance in our student government.

 

Lastly, I want to make sure USG’s funding impacts the highest number of students possible, while also empowering marginalized populations. I served on the Allocations Board and was able to see firsthand what issues trouble students and how to solve them. As the current Director of Business and Finance, I have changed the entire process to ensure students can receive USG funding upfront rather than waiting for weeks. With two full years of experience on USG, I have the knowledge and the fiscal responsibility to ensure that your tuition dollars count. If you cannot judge me by the words written, judge me by the actions I have made as your prior Allocations Board member and current Director of Business and Finance.”

 

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: “I am driven to make our student government representative of all student groups and to base all my decisions upon student feedback. Understanding your needs is my number one priority, which is why I have an open-door policy. I’m in the USG office over 12 hours a week and I encourage all students to contact me about what really grinds their gears. Whether it be expanding access to menstrual products, making sure your tuition dollars are available to you for professional conferences, or advocating on behalf of a streamlined mental health process on campus, I will put my full effort into making your concerns heard by President Diacon. This is your campus; make your voice heard.” 

 

Q: What changes are you looking to enact?

A: 

  • “Expansion of the Period Project/Free menstrual products 

  • A One-Stop shop for mental health resources/Accessible emergency counseling

  • More unified and inclusive environment within campus 

  • Increase campus safety resources to ensure all students are safe

  • Work more closely with campus safety administrators and city officials to make sure that all students feel safe in Kent

  • Make funding more accessible to student groups on campus

  • Improve the campus dining experience and focus on sustainable practices”

Tiera Moore 

Student Body President Candidate

Q: What is your platform?

A: “I have three main points. One is a unified campus. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome on campus and we have a more of a Golden Flash family, a more community aspect to our college. I want to work toward a more unified feeling. I want to encourage students to do more collaborative events on campus because we have a lot of student organizations. A lot of the events are independent so I want to encourage students to do more things together. As president, I also want to implement more of an open-door policy. I want to be able to break the barriers between groups. I want to work on being more of a liaison between groups. Another big point I’m running on is safety on and off-campus. One program I want to work on implementing is a safe rides program in partnership with Lyft. This program would offer discounted rides at night for students in order to decrease the rates of drinking and driving on our campus. My last point is health, physical and mental health. With mental health, last semester I led a delegation to the Ohio statehouse to talk to the lieutenant governor about increasing mental health services so that is something I’m really passionate about. In April, I will be leading a delegation to Washington D.C to talk to Congresspeople about it. I also want the university to create an office of mental health. I feel like we have a lot of services, but many students don’t know where to go. I want to increase the amount of counselors and therapists on campus, and in that, I want to make them from diverse backgrounds to reflect the student body. For the physical aspect of it, I want to increase the amount of condom dispensers on campus, which can be a problem because students should have access to the products as a part of public health. And also increasing the amount of menstrual products around campus. In that, I want to make sure they’re available in both men’s and women’s restrooms. Everyone should be able to have access to those products no matter how they identify. This is what I want to achieve as president.”

 

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: “I think they should vote for me because I am very dedicated to this. I have worked very hard in my position and have implemented a lot of great things. The Kent State Votes initiative, getting that off the ground has been such a challenge. Through all the struggle and everything I still have been fighting for it. I definitely will fight for students and I know sometimes students think we don’t do anything for them in student government but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that they don’t see. I am not afraid to go up to the administration and advocate for what the students want even if it is something they might not want. The whole point of student government is to be the voice of the students and be that voice no matter what their opinion is.”

 

Q: What changes are you looking to enact?

A: “As a whole, I want the government to be more inclusive and accessible to students. When I was a freshman, someone told me student government wasn’t for people that looked like me. That’s a really big thing I didn’t run on in my campaign last year because it’s a really touchy thing that took a lot for me to overcome. I realized that a lot of students still feel like that today. To be the first African American woman president, it shows a lot of change. It shows people that we are for them and that they are represented and they can be involved. Student government is supposed to represent them. It is getting a lot better, but there is still is a lot that needs to be done for it to be inclusive for everybody.”

 Jhariah Wadkins 

 Director of Programming Candidate

Q: What is your platform?

A: “Kent State’s Undergraduate Student Government has a rich history of hosting significant events with some of the most influential artists and keynote speakers time and time again. As Director of Programming, I plan to continue this tradition by providing events that will create lasting memories for each and every undergraduate student here at Kent State. I have a solid grasp of the music and entertainment industry as well as insight of what performers and events our students would like to see. I plan on engaging with students, providing surveys and networking with student organizations to ensure I am consistent with what our students would like to see with the programming events here at Kent State.

 

I want to be transparent with students and let them know that I have their best interests at heart. I would like to improve our ticketing system to ensure that students can efficiently and effortlessly buy their tickets without having to worry about the site crashing mid-purchase. I am eager to bring in a very diverse group of artists and speakers that represent numerous identities similar to our student body. My goal as Director of Programming is to work closely with the undergraduate students of Kent State to provide the best programming experience possible as well as create memories that will last a lifetime.”

Q: Why should people vote for you?

A: “People should vote for me because I am willing to get feedback from students for the type of performers and artists they would like to see on Kent State’s campus. I would also like to have events that improve the campus community and help to bring us together while also making memories that can last a lifetime. People should vote for me because I want to improve representation within USG and make sure that people of different identities are represented and have their voices heard.”

Q: What changes are you looking to enact?

A: “I would like to improve our ticketing system so students can buy their tickets efficiently and not have to worry about the site crashing. I am also looking to have more diverse guests on our campus to ensure more populations can see themselves in performers and guests.”

 Drake Wartman

Director of Communication and Marketing Candidate