First, candidates gave summaries of their platforms:
Chase Cocking – Treasurer: After having worked on the Financial Allocations Committee (FAC) this past year, he’s passionate about keeping SA’s budget intact.
Kaitlyn McKee – Secretary: She has organizational and communication skills that she thinks will aid her in condensing Senate minutes. They are quite long now, and she would want to summarize them and highlight big or important changes so they’re more accessible.
Whitney Cipolla – Vice President: She has been in SA for three years and served as a Senator for Greek row, the College of Arts & Sciences, and At-large. She has also been the Chair for the Government Operations Committee (GOC), which she says have given her considerable insight into the inner workings of SA.
Haley Anderson – President: Wants to emphasize the experience of being a TU student and believes SA plays a huge role in helping students build memories. She thinks that students should have a say in what goes on because they are, after all, the ones funding it. She would like to create a Student Activities Committee to “bridge the gap between students and SA.” She was also in charge of organizing Springfest.
Patrick Culp – President: Has been in SA for three years and has worked under the FAC as well as the Community Service committee. He thinks town halls would be more efficient if executive directors prepared options first and presented them to students. When he organized Service Day, he pared down the overall budget by $1400. He would like to implement more sustainability initiatives and basically “do more with less.”
Q: What is the biggest issue facing SA and what some concrete solutions?
Haley: A lack of communication is the biggest issue. She took part in an internal committee that ran some assessments and found that to be the case. Her solutions would include a Student Activities Committee with lunch meetings to interact more with students.
Patrick: Agreed that lack of communication is the biggest problem. He would want to give everyone a copy of the new guidelines so that they understand how SA works. He would also implement a bulletin board in a central location (potential the Student Union) specifically for SA events.
Q: What changes would you make to SA’s inner workings?
Haley: Wants to create more opportunities for professional development, especially activities that emphasize teamwork. She would also like to see more communication between officers when transitions take place, with the outgoing officer explaining the position more to incoming officers.
Patrick: SA Cabinet and executive directors need to be held accountable but not dragged into every meeting just for progress reports. He would want a “pointman” on executive board who other officers can refer to.
Q: Will there be any financial reform regarding the way student organizations get reimbursed?
Chase: It could feasible if the current system is deemed a complete failure, but he thinks organizations can attest to getting their money back in a timely manner. It is University policy to fund students through reimbursements, so that area is not under SA’s jurisdiction. Still, “The whole process is open to criticism.” One organization asked for funding to get jerseys made and they managed to get it. He wants to the process to be completely transparent because otherwise it is not fair.
Whitney: Students who are having trouble can always make suggestions to the GOC during townhalls.
Q: What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? (directed to presidential candidates)
Patrick: Logistics is his biggest area of strength and communicating with students through SA is his biggest weakness. He pointed to Service Day as an example of his logistics abilities, especially because he had to reschedule it after bad weather.
Haley: Dedication is her biggest strength but communication through SA is also her biggest weakness. She says these are indicative of SA as a whole.
Q: How will the Golden Ticket work to breach the gap between Cabinet and Senate?
Haley: The Golden Ticket has diverse backgrounds in Senate work, so the four of them together have lots of knowledge about the specific needs of both Cabinet and Senate.
Whitney: She is working on a joint event form that would encourage collaborations between Cabinet and Senate.
Kaitlyn: Publishing the minutes from both Cabinet and Senate meetings will benefit both sides. Each will then be able to keep track of the other.
Q: How will you deal with decrepit departments?
Haley: SA will keep a clear track of its money. Exit interviews with outgoing executive directors will highlight discrepancies and make sure that money is allocated correctly.
Patrick: The pointman on the executive board will get “CC’d on everything.” There will also be a Google Doc budget accessible to everyone on Cabinet.
Q: If the budget gets reduced, where will you make cuts first?
Haley: It will be clear where cuts need to be made after we start keeping track of spending and making sure it is going to appropriate activities.
Patrick: He cut the Service Day breakfast budget by $1600 by getting food from Cinnabon. The Student Awareness department of SA should partner more with student organizations and be a part of them so that SA isn’t double funding both them and individual student organizations.
Q: How is your relationship with the SA adviser? (directed to the presidential candidates)
Haley: Got a lot of experience working with the adviser and with administration while organizing Springfest, especially Dean Taylor.
Patrick: While organizing Service Day, worked a lot with Dean Putnam. Has not worked as much with the SA adviser because he is not in Cabinet.