SGA elections begin Monday and end Wednesday. Two tickets, each led by a senator — Paige Hungate and Tracia Banuelos — are running. The winner will be the first female student body president in a decade.
April 5, 2017
President: Tracia Banuelos
Double majoring in psychology and women’s studies, minoring in human resources, earning certificates in diversity studies and community psychology. Has served in SGA since spring of the 58th Session. Current chair of the diversity council.
“I was born and raised in Wichita. WSU has been my other home and a part of my life as long as I can remember.”
Vice President: Patrick “Ricky” Oshakuade
Double majoring as an honors student in pre-medicine psychology and biology, minoring in chemistry. Born in Wichita, grew up in Benton.
“I love WSU because it’s exposed me to all sorts of people who I’ve formed meaningful relationships with.”
On the issues
Impact is adamant that a culture of respect comes first. That is the only way to move as a unified team, they said.
“Our administrators are not magicians. We have to understand what they are capable of and what their limitations are to work together,” Banuelos said.
“We can’t operate without them. We can’t act however we want. We have to find middle ground,” Oshakuade said. “They have higher-ups too. It’s about moving with respect.”
Impact wants to explore an alternative plan that doesn’t use student fees. “The YMCA already offers a sliding scale for member registration and a student could get a membership for $12-15 per month. Why would you pay hundreds of dollars to your institution for something you can get on your own?” said Banuelos. “Student fees are not a blank checkbook.”
Oshakuade is a supporter of the organization and has previously been employed as a personal trainer for them, but the current plan is too ambiguous to bring to campus. “We can expand our other facilities without bringing another building on campus that could negatively affect our student financially,” Oshakuade said.
Impact is excited for the potential of Innovation Campus and the creative support it will offer students. However, they are concerned that not everyone will reap the benefits.
“Right now, it’s strongly marketed towards engineering students,” Banuelos said.
“I want to see the same attention that is being focused on engineering and business students to be focused on other areas,” Oshakuade said. “We need to use Innovation Campus to uplift other colleges.”
“We love our faculty and staff, but we don’t have all of the information available,” Banuelos said. “It’s easy to jump to conclusions and come up with theories, and these hot topics can get us away from other big issues we have.”
“There’s a lot of factors, and we can toss those around all day, but these things happen. We have to keep moving forward,” Oshakuade said.
Working with student fees
Impact believes that education and access is the key to ensuring all students see a return on the use of their student fees.
“I want to have more budget sessions and consistent coaching sessions to ensure students fully understand procedures and how to access funding opportunities,” Banuelos said. “Fees should only be spent on things that can benefit the entire student body.”
Some students have suggested cutting the salaries of SGA officials to free up more student fee money. Banuelos argues that this will negatively affect SGA and limit the types of students that can run for positions.
“The highest paid salaries in SGA are still below the poverty line,” Banuelos said. “The workload demand of an SGA officer is high —you don’t have time for another job. Cutting these salaries makes SGA a privileged position,” said Banuelos.
Impact wants to improve the way that senators interact with one another. The candidates want to initiate more social gatherings to allow senators to see each other more as friends working to achieve common goals.
“The nature of SGA is coming together in a room with people with polarized opinions,” Oshakuade said. “To turn that into productivity, we need stronger personal relationships so we can initiate a dialogue and truly listen to understand each other.”
Faculty raises/hiring freeze
“If we do not have faculty who feel valued, they will not stay and that lessens the value of the education we offer,” Banuelos said. “Engineering and business are performing well, so they get more resources, but they are also performing well because they have more access to resources. We need to show the University that other colleges are just as important.”
Banuelos says the current SPTE evaluation system is “bad,” and that is needs to be revamped. This will highlight more faculty achievements, as well as shed light on what areas need improvement so those needs can be addressed.
“We need to understand why these decisions are being made and how they are affecting us so we can have constructive conversations,” Oshakuade said.
“It’s good, but it can be better. I’d like to see more a larger variety on international food and a higher quality of food,” Oshakuade said.
“We’re never really expanding. Why did they close Blimpie’s in Hubbard and the Book and Bean in the library? Those were great options. Students used them. I’d like to see dining embedded around campus so students have more options where they need them,” Banuelos said.
Concealed carry policy
Impact says it’s time to make sure everyone is prepared for the change.
“We can either keep complaining or work to educate,” Banuelos said. “Students need to know their rights, and how to act on them.”
“Guns aren’t a household item for everyone. People have now been thrust into a new environment,” Oshakuade said.
“Creating space for them to voice their honest concerns and address them is important for their psychological well-being.”
Enrollment and retention
Impact wants to explore more ways to invest in a larger variety of community partnerships and engagements so that all majors can gain equal experience in their field.
Banuelos also feels that more attention needs to be paid to students in their sophomore and junior year.
“Those are the years students feel like they don’t have any support.
“When you want to change your major or transfer to another WSU college or add something to your degree, students don’t know where to start,” Banuelos said.
“This demonstrates the disconnect between what administrators think we want and can afford and what we actually want,” Banuelos said. “I don’t think they are meant for students. I think they were intended for young professionals.”
“It’s not a bad idea to build apartments,” Oshakuade said, “but it’s hard to expect students to pay that price.”
Interfaith Prayer Space
Impact wants those renovations to happen now. The lack of renovations is sending a message that certain students are not allowed to use the space.
“I’m baffled as to how it’s still an issue,” Banuelos said. “There’s a misconception that they’re catering to one faith, but all religions will benefit from the necessary changes.”
“Focus on the interfaith portion and own that,” Oshakuade said.
Impact wants to see the university improve the support for all diverse populations.
“It’s not enough just to have us here. You need to meet our needs,” said Banuelos.
“The perception of diversity is an issue,” Oshakuade said. “When our diverse population is used solely for an advertisement, that’s a problem.”
Banuelos says the university is “picking and choosing what groups to focus on” and that’s unacceptable. She says the University need stop ignoring the T in LGBTQ and install gender neutral restrooms in every building and every floor.
There have been discussions on creating more financial opportunities and on-campus jobs for DACA students, but who’s leading the charge?
Banuelos says we need to better promote what we already have.
“Our Heskett Center has several ADA compliant facilities. Are we working to make sure students know that? Do students who struggle with depression know they can work with Disabilities Services?” Banuelos said.
Banuelos also supports more cultural competency training. “It’s hard to create change or initiates without understanding people from other cultures and experiences to a degree,” Banuelos said.
A key factor to improving is decentralizing the whole responsibility of providing support to one understaffed office.
“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has 3 people. They run over 200 programs a year. They have the whole responsibility of providing diversity outreach and support, and they aren’t given enough resources,” Banuelos said.
Student health and wellness
Impact wants to open networks and build bridges to make better care available to students.
“I want to form partnerships with clinics and hospitals to provide services to students that our campus facilities do not,” Oshakuade said. “Sometimes students need things like bloodwork, MRIs, and CAT scans. Those are expensive and we need to be able to reduce the costs of these procedures.”
Banuelos also wants to centralize the health facilities that we do have on campus.
“I’m open to discussion on building a WSU owned and operated facility on campus.” Banuelos.
— Nicole Byrne