Candidates discuss plans at SGA debate

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    Candidates for student body officer positions addressed their goals and plans for the upcoming year at the annual Student Government Association Debate Thursday night.

    The candidates answered questions from moderator Jordan Rubio, as well as questions from audience members. About 16 students attended the event held in the Beck-Geren Conference Room in the Brown-Lupton University Union.

    President

    Student Body President Cody Westphal is running unopposed for re-election. He repeated his platform of “Your Voice, Your Vision, Our TCU” from last year’s election. Westphal said he will use his experience as president this year to continue his work next year.

    “The cool thing about [being] president is you can bring people together to make an even bigger difference,” he said.

    Westphal also said he wants to include more programs regarding mental health resources for students on campus, as well as continue the Not On My Campus program against sexual assault that will take place on April 9-11.

    In addition, Westphal said he wants to continue to celebrate diversity on campus through the continuation of the CommUNITY Block Party event, as well as encourage students to reach out more to SGA through the [email protected] email.

    “This year, responses were really really good. A lot of quality ideas came from students,” he said.

    Vice-President of External Affairs

    Blake Tilley and Maddie Reddick, candidates for Vice-President of External Affairs, discussed their plans to get students more involved in the Fort Worth community. They also addressed improving communication to students regarding SGA.

    Tilley, who is running for re-election, said he wants to promote SGA more to first-year students through Frogs First and Orientation.

    “I think if we can start with those incoming freshmen and let them know who we are and what we do early on, then they know for four straight years who they can go to for help,” Tilley said.

    Tilley was elected to the position earlier this semester after previous Vice-President of External Affairs Hillary Shepheard stepped down.

    Reddick, currently a John V. Roach Honors College Representative, said more of her goals for the upcoming year involve reaching out to businesses and public officials in Fort Worth and working to give students more community service opportunities.

    Both candidates said they want to increase work with student organizations.

    “I would really want to focus on just making sure that the students know number one: what SGA does. We fund and we advocate. And number two: help them understand that we’re there for them,” Reddick said.

    Vice-President of Operations

    Current Academic Affairs Committee Chair Matt Spangler is running unopposed for the position of Vice-President of Operations. His goals include helping students rent out classrooms to use as study spaces, as well as work more with theCrew and Frog Aides.

    In addition, Spangler said he wants to create a Google Doc of SGA legislation in progress to help House members and also continue the program to supply free Scantrons to students.

    Treasurer

    Neeley School of Business Representatives Lydia Longoria and Garrett Adair discussed their similar plans to take a more active role with student organizations in the process of receiving and using money from SGA.

    However, the candidates disagreed on whether or not student body officers should receive payment for their positions.

    Currently, the Student Body President receives $3,000 a year, while the Vice-President of External Affairs, Vice-President of Operations and Treasurer each receive $2,600, according to the 2013-2014 budget.

    Adair said his goal is to remove student body officers’ wages from the 2015-2016 SGA Budget. Since no other executive member of a campus organization receives payment, SGA officers should not be paid either, he said.

    Adair also said that instead, he would rather use that money to benefit student organizations.

    Longoria said that the money paid to SGA officers should remain because of the time and commitment of being an officer. She said that the money opens up opportunities for students to hold those positions when they wouldn’t be able to without it.

    She also said that removing the money from the budget would have a negative effect on students who want to run for student body officer positions in the future.

    Both Adair and Longoria are currently members of the Finance Committee.

    Elections begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8. Students can vote online until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 9.