The Racquet

Student Association candidates speak out on Spring Election

uwlax.edu

uwlax.edu

Rachel Mergen, Staff Reporter

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University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students will face off on Tuesday, April 17, to see who will fill a variety of positions across the student government, including the titles of president and vice president. Candidates on the ballot for president will include Kyle Beckwith, Ben O’Connell and his vice president candidate Haley Jurecki, and Malik Hodges.  

“The election on Tuesday is very important because it gives students the opportunity to let their voices be heard. My campaign is built on concrete goals and plans to improve this university, not vague statements. This election should be built on ideas to make the students lives better, because it’s always a time for greatness here at UWL,” O’Connell stated, who, with his vice president partner Haley Jurecki, make up the only full ticket on the ballot.  

O’Connell along with Jurecki’s, main goals include continuing to work with Representatives Shankland and Billings and the rest of the state legislature “to get violence prevention resources legislation introduced for students next session, to promote greater diversity and inclusion on UWL’s campus, to make UWL more environmentally sustainable through banning the sale of plastic straws on campus and replacing them with paper straws, along with reducing the amount of to go containers on campus, [and] to bring residence life voices back to Student Association.” 

Continuously, the ticket hope “to protect allocable segregated fee funding for students, to increase senator accountability, to fix cell phone service in the U, to revamp the use of rules of order to bring stability to the Senate, [and] to continue to advocate for shared governance at both UWL and in the state legislature.” 

Candidate Beckwith has four main goals that are defining his campaign for the presidential position. He hopes to place security cameras in high traffic areas around campus, to set up voting registration tables for the incoming freshman to sign up prior to the time of elections, and to host open forums for students to discuss controversial topics, so that the arguments and conversations are not simply taking place on social media sights like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, his fourth goal that focuses on the school’s budget includes “making sure the funds are going to the right places.”  

Beckwith takes pride in his diverse background within the university’s community, including involvement in Greek Life, the Radio Show Testing The Limits, and formerly the university’s Lacrosse team. He believes his involvement “keeps me inclined with the campus.” 

Hodges, who studies Interpersonal Communications and Sociology, while also serving as a Senator for two consecutive years, stated that his platform also includes four prominent goals. These goals are “to increase student engagement,” “to get administration to be more transparent,” “to act to follow through with representing diversity and inclusion as a UWL family value,” and “to keep our student body connected with the UW system.” 

He noted, “I think the most obvious reason I stand out in this Presidential race is because I am a black male running for an influential position on a predominantly white campus. Furthermore, there hasn’t been a person of color that has ran for President in over four years. Also, there has only ever been one person of color as Student Body President in UWL’s history. We need different identities on leading UWL’s Student Government to make sure no one is being marginalized on our campus.” 

Though Hodges initially campaigned with his partner Abby Glaus, Glaus has officially withdrew from the campaign. On the decision, Glaus said, “This experience has overall been positive. Although I removed myself from the ballot because of differences between my running mate and me, this experience has taught me a lot about myself that I am proud of. I wish we could carry out our goals together but hopefully, I will remain involved in student association in other ways.” 

On Glaus’ withdrawal, cureent President Jacob Schimmel noted his respect of her decision and recognized her sacrifice of such an opportunity.  

Schimmel is overall pleased with the election, having stated, “I think it’s good that we have a competitive race.” He agreed that having candidates engaging and actively speaking with voters, will hopefully increase turn out, as in past years the rate of students voting has decreased to less than 10 percent of all students enrolled.  

Schimmel said, “I hope students are really engaged.” He described that voting only will take approximately five minutes out of each students’ day, but that their vote will affect millions of dollars.  

“All legislation affects every student,” Beckwith reminded. “It’s important for students to have their voices heard.”  

“Voting is a right and you have all the freedom to vote or not,” Hodges said. “However, not voting helps the people with the most power retain power without any opposition. Your voice isn’t heard if you don’t vote, and you are letting other people make decisions for you. You should at least be involved in the process of electing someone who you believe will represent you best. Voting is what makes us a Democratic society, and you deserve to be heard.”  

A MyOrgs link to vote on Tuesday will be sent out by the Student Association to all students enrolled at the university.  

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Student Association candidates speak out on Spring Election