SGA president, vice president candidates debate student concerns

Presidental candidate Hunter Minette and VP candidate Annie Wasinger address the audience inside the RSC during the SGA presidental debate. (Mia Hennen / The Sunflower)

Thursday evening, presidential and vice-presidential candidates had the opportunity to state their objectives and attempt to win over the student body. Three tickets were debated — one declared and two write-ins.

The declared pairing, Olivia Gallegos and Mitchell Adamson are running with a four-point platform of transparency, financial literacy, mental health and safety. 

The next pairing, who were write-in candidates, Hunter Minette and Annie Wasinger are running under a four-point plan: making a centralized hub for SGA with a Shocker support network, advising and engagement, digital platforms and transparency. 

The second write-in ticket, William Shropshire and Zane Berry, have three main objectives: connecting students to the university, to jobs and to the workforce. A large focus of theirs was upholding the university’s traditions and legacies. 

The candidates spent time speaking about the politicization of student government, and how it affects the student process.

Minette shared that he is not registered with a political party, but is a member of both the intersectional student leftists association and Turning Point USA.

“I don’t believe the politicization of the student process or experiences here should be something that affects how student government works,” Minette said. “It doesn’t exist except for those who want to make it exist.”

Gallegos, the president of Turning Point USA, made a similar point.

“In recent years it has become a very politicized organization and it doesn’t need to be that way,” Gallegos said. “We want to be able to make sure that things are not so political and not so hostile to any student group.”

An audience member asked candidates if they believe that cultural agencies such as Black Student Union, Hispanic American Leadership Organization and Asian Student Conference are important to the work of SGA.

SGA presidental candidate Olivia Gallegos introduces herself and her VP candidate partner, Mitchell Adamson, to the audience inside the RSC. Voting for SGA presidents and VPs will open Monday, April 5. (Mia Hennen / The Sunflower)

“Having served on a diversity empowerment inclusion committee within the student senate for the past few years, these agencies have made our job a lot easier,” Gallegos said. “We already have this relationship established and having that has made leaps and bounds in the things that we can do as a DEI committee and so having the agencies has been amazing.” 

Minette and Wasinger discussed giving these agencies a platform during their time in SGA. 

“I worked closely with the former speaker of the student senate who developed this bill with the intent to provide a platform for student organizations that may not necessarily have the funding or resources to advocate for their populations effectively,” Minette said. “The entire point of these association agencies is to give people a platform where they can disagree with the student government, but still receive our support.” 

Shropshire said that as someone who is not involved in SGA, it is the first time he has heard about this but related these agencies to his experience as an engineer. 

“We work in a team, and these teams have people who have all sorts of different backgrounds, and we want to include everyone’s opinion on whatever projects we’re working on.,” Shropshire said. “It doesn’t matter who you are; we’re supposed to represent you guys.” 

Other issues debated included how to make the university represent its diverse population, what

Presidental candidate William Shropshire and VP candidate Zane Berry discuss their objectives if they win office. (Mia Hennen / The Sunflower)

the candidates will do to make SGA more welcoming to diverse ideas, and how candidates will manage the pressure that comes with the presidential and VP role. 

The debate can be viewed on SGA’s youtube page. Voting for candidates will open Monday, April 4 and close on Wednesday, April 6 at 5 PM. Students will be able to find the ballots in their emails.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A past version of this story incorrectly stated an order of quotes. This story has been changed to add clarification.