Recap of Spring 2022 SGA Debates

By Ülvi Gitaliyev and Lily Barnette

The following are a selection of the most important statements and answers from each of the candidates running for the Spring SGA 2022.

Nathaniel Fish:

Q: What stopped you off from making the changes that you’re proposing today? What guarantee do we have that it’ll be different this time?

NF: My first year in SGA as a freshman senator, that was really just a time to learn what is SGA? How does it work really going in? When I applied as a freshman, I barely knew what I was applying for. But over the course of the past two and a half years, we have done a lot of things. We have worked on, again, bridging that administration gap. We have worked on implementing that parking policy. We have worked on getting masks for everyone. On a more personal level, the work that I’ve been doing with the position of Vice President of Finance was actually really impactful. So when I got to the student government, there was no sort of order or rules. I was able to create all these lines and rules.

Q: Has there been any thought for students that do not qualify for DACA? Students not from the US that do not qualify for DACA are presently not allowed to attend Berea College.

NF: I was able to actually write this up as well. If you look at our different policy options, the main trouble of that is finding a workaround with labour and how labour works because as we’ve looked into it, other colleges across the United States are able to do that. However, because we do want to have that example from Berea College, it is important that it will be difficult and it will be hard for the administration. Just because of that, though, doesn’t mean that it cannot happen. I would say from our administration, we would make sure that the College is able to not just blindly say no to this sort of stuff and would look harder into it.

Q: Will diversity be an important factor in your cabinet choice if you do become President?

NF: Looking at the cabinet, but also just looking at the SGA and even my work here and talking with Collins, talking about the different things that we want to see, diversity is really important, both diversity of experience and background and understanding of the world, but also the diversity of skin and thought and such. Working for the President of Finance, we’re going to look into working with, maybe, a freshman or a sophomore to really get that diversity of classroom as well.

Collins Kandongwe:

Q: What is your closing statement?

CK: Oftentimes in an industry, innovation is not brought by the people that have been in the industry for the longest but innovation is sometimes brought by the people that come outside. I personally believe leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by a passion generated by vision, produced by conviction, ignited by a purpose. A leader who stands for the people and is a leader who is able to represent the people effectively and efficiently. And I would love to identify myself as such.

Connor Courtney:

Q: What is your top priority going to be if or when you take office?

CC: As we know, the SGA isn’t working. Last semester, it was left in basically shambles. It’s really about bringing organization. That’s the first thing that is the priority. People don’t know. There’s just too much chaos and disorder. We need to bring everybody together and just be on the same page; that’s bringing the Senate together and just going through common rules and really bringing back the Constitution. We didn’t have the Constitution of the previous President. It was a mess.

Q: What stopped you from making the changes that you’re proposing today? What guarantee do we have that it’ll be different this time?

CC: We followed through with visitation. That’s something we really did. I think that’s a big thing. We followed through with our promises. The hard part is that there’s only like three or four paid members and it takes so much time. Like, you would not imagine how hard it is to get $100 for an event and how everyone will nit-pick and look at a funding request and it will take three or four meetings just for that to happen. There’s too much time wasted on things. The problem is we need internal reforms. A reason progress has stopped is that we need ways to make things move quicker and faster.

Q: You ran against the former administration and lost. You were also in line for the presidency after Obinna’s resignation was passed. Are you concerned that there’s a trend that the student body doesn’t think you’re ready for the job?

CC: That’s a weird question, but okay, yeah. I’m pretty happy with my job at HEART. I do a lot of things to make a lot of good books on this campus. As I said, I didn’t want this job. It’s a job that I feel compelled to take because we started this work for visitation and it’s getting stalled. You know how many people voted in that election? 300 people out of a school of 1600? That is a failure of the SGA that we will fix.

Ezra Lanoue:

Q: The VP position has been known to be very laid back. Collins and Ezra, what will your roles as VP look like?

EZ: The SGA vice-president has five paid hours. I plan on taking so many unpaid hours in addition to that. Last semester, I worked for so, so many hours on CSV, and I was thinking, like, imagine if I could be, like, paid for this. I can dump more hours into this because it is my passion to serve my community. And it’s like, being vice president is a plus to that. It helps me do that. I plan on being a full partner to Connor Courtney. I have experience he doesn’t have. He has experience I don’t have. Ultimately, we are complementary. We are full partners in this endeavour that we are taking on. As you know, a year ago, I ran for SGA president and Connor was my vice-president.

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