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SGA executive board hopefuls discuss platforms during debate

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Zach Henson

Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association held a debate for the SGA executive board candidates to discuss their platforms.

President Candidates

The SGA president holds everything together and is a leader for the SGA, according to Taylor Holt, a sophomore social science major from Huntsville and the current SGA director of representation.

“The president serves the board of trustees and communicates directly to higher administration,” she said.

Gus McKenzie, a junior communication major from Monroeville, is running on the platform of “Give back with Gus.”

“I have tangible, relatable, realistic goals for our Student Government Association and how it can benefit you,” he said during the debate.

Among those goals, he said, are pushing the administration to hire more faculty to keep student and faculty ratios at a “respectable level.” He also said he wants to improve the parking situation by improving the transit system, working closely with Derrick Brewster, associate dean of students, who is over the transit system.

McKenzie said he wants to give freshmen and sophomores more opportunities to declare majors. He also said he wants to be an equal voice for all students by meeting directly with the student body and including another international student representative in the SGA senate.

“Most of the SGA presidents have had an open-door policy,” McKenzie said. “I want to be more than that. I want to be in organizational meetings.

“I want to be meeting with leadership on campus and learning the goals that all of you want.”

When asked what experience would make him a great president, McKenzie called upon his time working with Freshmen Forum and SGA and his positions working as an IMPACT leader and as the president of his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega.

Carter Ray, a sophomore geomatics and surveying major from Troy is running on the basis of six qualities to keep the SGA working as a team.

“My big thing is maintaining courage, action, representation, trust, experience and respect,” he said. “I want to make sure we (the SGA) have a clear communication amongst each other and I want be able to, for us to communicate well and have one general idea in mind, and that’s to keep the students first.”

“We need to be able to listen to our student’s concerns, listen to the issues that they have and communicate that to the higher administration at Troy University,” Ray said. “That way, those concerns can be met and that is the one and only way, by having a strong and healthy relationship with the higher administration that those voices and those concerns can be met.”

Ray said he wants to listen to students’ concerns and be able to communicate those to the higher administration by having a strong relationship with the administrators.

Through this communication, he said he wants to keep tuition prices from rising while increasing funding for scholarships and infrastructure improvements.

Ray also said he wants to increase student participation and Trojan pride across campus.

Vice President for Campus Activities Candidates

The vice president for campus activities promotes student involvement through events such as Homecoming, pep rallies and Home Sweet Troy, according to Holt.

Morgan Long, a sophomore sports management major from Alabaster, is running with the slogan “Keep Troy strong and vote for Morgan Long.”

In his opening remarks, Long focused on his previous SGA experiences, saying it “has kind of given me the passion for running for this position” and said he wants to increase Trojan pride in the SGA.

When asked how he would improve Homecoming, Long said he wants to increase the independent population’s participation.

“I want to make the events so much fun, so much entertaining, people don’t have to hear that word (mandatory) in order to attend,” he said.

He also said he wants to expand Homecoming to not just focus on the large campus organizations.

“I want to shine the spotlight on those smaller groups, on those individuals, bring them out, provide events that highlights their talents and shows their love for Troy,” he said.

He added that he wants to give back to the community through philanthropy during Homecoming.

Emma Turner, a junior exercise science major from Huntsville, said “fun is our main goal.”

Turner said she wants to focus on listening to student concerns and student involvement.

“Through homecoming, I really want to make sure that all organizations are represented and that each organization has equal and fair opportunity to be involved,” she said when asked how she would improve Homecoming.

When asked what experience prepared her for this position, Turner focused on her SGA experience and previous Homecoming participation.

“I really want to take leading the homecoming committee and plan an effective homecoming where all students feel involved and all students feel like they have opportunity to compete,” she said.

Vice President for Legislative Affairs

The vice president for legislative affairs is the president of the senate and leads the SGA meetings, according to Holt.

Adrian Bone, a sophomore economics major from New Market, said he wants to push more inclusiveness between the student body and the SGA senate.

“I plan on doing this by holding the senate more accountable for being what we are, which is representatives for you guys, the student body,” he said.

When asked how he would improve the SGA’s yearly retreat, which is taken at the beginning of each academic year, Bone said he would encourage the use of parliamentary procedure so members would already be familiar with it before meetings and so those meetings would be more effective.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, parliamentary procedure is a set of rules and practices commonly employed in deliberative bodies to maintain decorum and ascertain the will of the majority while preserving the rights of the minority.

“I also plan to push more bonding between the senate. I feel like as a senate, we all need to be friends, because without knowing each other, we can’t really do anything,” Bone said.

Bone also focused on his diverse experience, working with international students, Greeks and independents, as well as his openness, trustworthiness, and work ethic.

Alex Reynolds, a sophomore nursing major from Dothan, is running with the slogan “Vote the right way. Alex Reynolds for VPLA.”

“I am committed to serving you, the student, and leading the senate into making positive changes here on Troy’s campus,” he said.

Reynolds also plans to focus on practicing parliamentary procedure during the SGA retreat, which he says will lead to effective meetings.

“I think it’s important for new senators coming in, who aren’t familiar with parliamentary procedure to be able to practice that, so that they can stand up and represent you,” he said.

When asked how he will lead each senate committee to achieved its desired goals, he said he wants to find out what students want.

A senator’s job is to know what the students want, he said.

Additionally, Reynolds said he wants to make a way for students to submit ideas to their senators through Facebook or the SGA website so that their ideas can be delegated to the appropriate committees.

Director of Representation

The director of representation leads all elections in the SGA and Homecoming, making the ballots and helping others through the application processes, according to Holt.

Matthew Dortch, a sophomore criminal justice major from Hoover, said he wants to have a more diverse SGA to represent Troy’s diverse student body.

When asked how he would improve the election processes, he said he wants to involve a larger pool of candidates by working with other organizations on campus.

“I wish to give back and serve the school I love by being your Director of Representation,” Dortch said. “I will try to be an honest director, formatting rules and qualifications in a clear, concise way so that everyone will understand.”

Dortch was also asked whether he thought SGA should be concerned with how senators and officers represent themselves on social media.

“Social media can be very beneficial, or it can very damaging,” he said. “As elected officials, you are representing the students, but you are also representing this awesome, accredited university we have at Troy.”

Morgan Tew, a junior biomedical science major from Eclectic, said “I want to improve communication, transparency and representation.”

Tew said she wants to include more independent students in the election processes and work with other organizations on campus to communicate how to apply to run in elections.

Tew was also asked what ideas she would implement in the process of selecting the Homecoming court.

“It’s not just for Greek organizations,” Tew said. “I want more international students and more independent students to be involved.”

She said she wants to improve the election process by showing students how applications are analyzed so they can have a greater chance of being chosen.

Director of Administration

The director of administration is the secretary for the SGA, takes minutes and helps with the budget, and organizes the SGA retreat and banquet, according to Holt.

Abby Hamilton, a sophomore biomedical science major from Fairhope, says she is “a leader and a friend to all.”

“I want to be someone anyone can come up to and ask a question, feel comfortable, accepted, and that I can help with whatever they need to and hopefully solve any issues that they have,” she said.

To improve communication among SGA members and the student body, Hamilton said she wants to utilize all aspects of social media and the SGA website to post minutes so students can easily keep up with the SGA and communicate with senators on how to vote.

“You have to be able to communicate with the students, the SGA, the administrators and everyone,” she said.

Hamilton said she wants to make sure everything runs smoothly in the SGA.

Sydney St. John, a sophomore nursing major from Leeds, said she wants to be “accessible, open and honest.”

“I really want students to be able to feel like they can come to SGA with any issues that they have and that we take into consideration all of the opinions of the entire student body when we make decisions,” she said. “I plan on doing this by encouraging more international students to vote so that people that they believe accurately represent them are on senate.”

St. John focused on her involvement in SGA, Greek life and the Trojanettes when asked what experience would help her in this position.

St. John also said she wants to create a simplified version of the SGA meeting minutes to help students know what is happening in the SGA.

The full debate will be aired on Troy Trojanvision’s channel at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb, 24. It will also be available to view on Monday, Feb. 26, at youtube.com/troytrojanvision and facebook.com/troytrojanvision.

The election is set for Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students will be sent a portal to a website in their Troy email, from which they can vote.