Student body president and vice president candidates went head to head Thursday at 5 p.m. during the Student Government Association (SGA) Election Debate. It was presidential candidate Lauren Bullock with running mate Kevin Hines up against presidential candidate Tracey Allsbrook and running mate Bryan McCollom. While Allsbrook and McCollom talked a lot about campus safety and inclusion, Bullock and Hines wanted to discuss issues that affected more than just the campus individually, such as Donald Trump’s administration. The candidates also addressed some of the same issues such as lack of communication between administration, SGA and students.
The debate began with the candidates being given allotted time to introduce themselves and their platforms.
Allsbrook is the current Senator for Liberal Arts and Sciences. McCollom formerly held Allsbrook’s position but is now the current president of College Democrats at UNC Charlotte.
Allsbrook and McCollom are running on the platform “Advocacy. Accountability. Action.”
“For too long here at the University, I feel like students have felt like a number… I feel like there needs to be a bigger connection,” Allsbrook said.
Allsbrook said she wants to see more action taken and used the example of having problems with administration fixing the requested safety hazards from the Campus Safety Walk, specifically mentioning that there are lights still out in South Village. Allsbrook also said she wants to push for security cameras in the parking decks.
Allsbrook also plans to work with student organizations to ensure they know how to request funding correctly and avoid being rejected, if elected.
Bullock holds the position of Secretary for Diversity Affairs for SGA and Internal Vice President of the Black Student Union. Hines serves as the Student Government Judicial Panelist.
Bullock and Hines are running on the platform “Cultivating the Community,” which includes three different pillars, with the first being “ensuring safety and quality of life.”
“Having a campus and safety tour on campus, while that is important, we also need to advocate for students beyond just what is going on on-campus,” Bullock said. “Some of those things have definitely recently come up with the previous elections with our United States president. With students feeling unsafe on campus and feeling like they don’t belong on campus, it’s really our responsibility to advocate for those students.”
The second and third pillars are “strengthening our social network,” which Bullock said means that communication needs to improve between not only the administration and students but also SGA and students, and “upholding Niner Values.” If elected, Bullock and Hines plan to table on every other “Wear Green Wednesday” and advocate for meetings with administrators that are open to all students.
McCollom said if elected, he wants to improve the relationship between students and administration and mentioned that the administration shouldn’t be making big decision without addressing students. He used the example of the University deciding to tear down Belk Tower.
“It was the principle of not consulting the students before you rip down a historical structure,” McCollom said.
Both tickets brought up recent events that led to students feeling like they were receiving information through the media rather than the University.
Allsbrook said if elected, she plans to find out where the information is available for students to access and that she will immediately release a statement when an incident occurs.
“I don’t ever want it to be a time where you think I’m walking around campus with a title and not working towards and for you all,” Allsbrook said.
Hines followed up to that saying that he as well would send emails out to the student body when he receives information.
The candidates were asked about how they would manage unexpected challenges.
Mccollum talked about his experiencing facing adversity as a Resident Advisor in Hunt and Sanford Hall.
“The 3 a.m. phone call is no joke. People can get locked out, there is something that’s leaking, there is something that’s having a personal crisis, there’s someone who’s going through a traumatic event. It could be life altering for them. You do learn in that position how to deal with adversity,” McCollom said.
Bullock said that her team dynamic with Hines will help them handle unexpected situations.
“Me, being a calm spirit and him, being the fuel to the fire, is really what’s going to help us implement change during adverse situations,” Bullock said.
Elections will be held March 28 to 29. Students can vote online for student body president, student body president, class president and college-specific senators.