Western Courier

Student Government Association holds annual SGA Debate

Marc Ramirez, edge editor

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The Student Government Association held their annual SGA Debate Tuesday night in the University Union Capital Room. Students had the opportunity to meet, ask and learn about the candidates platforms during a 30 minute meet and greet session.

Justin Brown, currently Student Member to the Board of Trustees is running for reelection as well as Colton Markey, Daria Levchenko, Doni Purifoy and Kamren Williams, who are all running for SGA President and Vice President.

The evening was moderated by the Dean of the Centennial Honors College, Richard Hardy. Hardy has been a long-standing supporter of SGA and helps us out by moderating the debate every other year.

“The candidate for the Board of Trustees is Justin Brown,” Hardy said. “Justin I might add, is the Board of Trustees student member and is the only member of the Board of Trustees, our largest, most important policy making members that is elected and not appointed.”

Justin gave his opening remarks and began with information about himself. Brown is currently a junior at Western Illinois University majoring in political science and minoring in law enforcement and justice administration. Brown is currently involved in the University Union Board where he serves as the Vice President of Finance and Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity where he is currently Treasurer. In addition to this, he has and currently serves on the Council of Admissions, Graduation and Academic Standards, the Council on the Quality of Life for Students, the Student Cost Management Task Force and student representative to The Admission Director and Enrollment Search Committee.

“These have all helped me gain knowledge and insights on how the University operates and has given me the opportunity to work closely with not only faculty and staff, but members of the student body,” Brown said.

In terms of working with students, Brown has also served as an Orientation Leader, a Welcome Week leader, an Experience Western buddy and a Discover Western volunteer. Since July of last year, he has served as the Student Member to the Board of Trustees where he has worked over the past nine months to tackle challenges, many of which we have been facing for years, in addition to other local state institutions.

“With regards to what I have personally done in response to the recent layoffs and proposed program reductions, I have worked with leadership of Student Government Association to host a student forum that President Thomas and various other Vice Presidents and administration attended,” Brown said. “They answered questions and provided information as to why these decisions were made.”

Brown said that he will continue to meet with students, faculty, staff and administrators to ensure that any decisions that are made have the students’ best interest in mind because as a regional institution of Higher Education administrator, he is here to support students and will continue to do so to the best of his ability.

The next candidate to speak was Levchenko, running for Vice President. Typically she would alternate answering questions with her opponent; however, Williams was not in attendance for the important SGA event. Levchenko bagan by giving context into herself.

“Hi my name is Daria Levchenko and I am a freshman law enforcement major from San Diego,” Levchenko said. “I currently serve as the Director of Student Services on SGA and I am running for Vice President for next year. I also am involved with UUB as a Homecoming Co-Director and am the external affairs chair for my sorority Alpha Sigma Tau.”

Levchenko hopes to build on the successes from the former SGA members and wants to bond the Senate and the Cabinet to form a more united and transparent association. She believes that if the two can not work well together then how would they possibly serve the student body, so this is a task she would like to build upon fairly early in her term.

Over the course of her speech and questions, Levchenko continuously discussed how she’d like to assemble a group of students to work with admissions and marketing to help promote Western in a way that would attract potentially new students.

“Current students who help bring in the new students have a better perspective of their peers,” Levchenko said. One last thing that Levchenko hopes to build upon immediately if elected to office would be to create a meet and greet for students to get a better understanding on what SGA is and who they can voice questions, concerns and feedback to. This would only help Senators get new ideas for legislation, but show students that they do have a voice on this campus.

Following the question and answer panel for Vice President, both presidential candidates stood at the podium and prepared their opening remarks.

“Hello and good evening, thank you all for being here on a Tuesday night, my name is Colton Markey and I am a speech pathology and audiology major with a minor in psychology,” Markey said. “I am running for Student Government Association because I believe students should play a vital role in their own college experience. I want to help bring a voice to the students, hear their concerns and help make their voices heard.”

Markey has two years of experience in the Student Government Association as he has served as the Director of Public Relations and the Director of Academic Affairs. One of his priorities if elected president would be to make sure that students understand the intricacies of the University which would allow them to take their college experience and make of it what they want.

“I have seen the impact that students have had on this University and it would be my honor to lead that charge as your next SGA President,” Markey said.

Next to speak at the podium was Purifoy, a sophomore majoring in political science with a emphasis in pre-law with a double minor in military science and African American studies.

“My partner and I, Kamren Williams, are running on the platform of institutional growth and exposure as well as sustaining and increasing the satisfaction of student life,” Purifoy said.

 

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Student Government Association holds annual SGA Debate