While the two opposing presidential candidates running for election in the upcoming LSA-Student Government race plan to address similar issues, including improved Graduate Student Instruction and greater interaction with student groups, they have different views on how the government should be run.
Blue Party candidate Gwen Arnold said she is stressing the importance of experience and the need to keep the government’s scope of interest focused strictly on academics.
Monique Luse, presidential candidate for Students First, said diversity of representatives – not experience strictly within LSA-SG – is key to the success of the government. She also expressed her intentions to broaden the scope of the student government outside of academic-related issues.
Arnold said the experience of Blue party candidates is a definite strength, since its members are often re-elected.
“We know how LSA-SG and the administration functions,” she said.
Students First wanted to have candidates representing all areas of campus, regardless of whether they had past experience with LSA-SG. Luse said she believed experience outside student government was just as important, however, because candidates will be more in tune with the needs of the groups they are involved with.
“Almost all of our candidates who have not been involved in student government have been very involved (in other groups) on campus,” she said. “We plan on being responsive to your needs throughout the year. … We’re not going to decide for you.”
Student First candidate, Tania Brown, said being a minority student and a member of the Christian community gives her a unique insight into the needs of those groups. “I would be best able to bring those perspectives to the government,” she said.
RC sophomore and Blue Party candidate Jill Barkley created the RC Student Cooperative, which addresses RC-specific issues, last semester. She said she plans to continue to represent the RC if elected this semester.
“A big issue for the RC as a whole is now having grades,” she said. “It is more helpful for RC students to have evaluations for important RC classes.”
A second issue the two candidates differ on is the extent to which LSA-SG should get involved with student life outside of academics.
Arnold said an important task for her, if elected, would be “keeping the focus on academics and LSA services rather than politics.”
Luse expressed an interest in broadening the scope LSA-SG. “In the past, LSA-SG has been very focused on just academic issues,” she said. “It should deal with all parts of a student’s life.”
Greater student involvement and interest in student government is an issue both parties plan to target.
“We want to appoint a lot more non-elected students to committees and set up a system where certain representatives go to certain student groups on campus,” Arnold said. “This way we will have a better knowledge of what their needs are.”
Luse also said she believed holding LSA-SG meetings in the residence halls would attract more student attention. She said many students who may have an interest in attending meetings do not come because they don’t know where they are being held.
Other issues that are being addressed in the upcoming election are improvement of GSI instruction and the addition of more wireless computing in more LSA buildings. Blue Party initiatives include an expanded meal plan, improved University transportation, a later Spring Break and the implementation of the Sophomore Initiative, which would link sophomore students with advisors based on their area of interest ,among other things.
Students First plans on lobbying for more internship opportunities for students, expanded advising, cheaper off-campus Ethernet access and the prevention of a tuition hike.