Tue. Mar 19th, 2019

SGA candidates debate university concerns

By Ryan Considine–

The SGA General Elections Top Four debate was held in the Humanities Auditorium last Wednesday night.  There are two different slates running for office as well as a third candidate, Travis Gault, who is running for SGA president without a slate.

For the office of president of Student Government Association there is Max Morley representing Cards Unite, Justin Brandt for Card Vision and independent candidate Travis Gault.

Brandt was not there but his statement opened with an apology for not being able to attend the event and attributed his absence to two sudden deaths in his family. Part of his statement read,  “A vote for me isn’t one for false or unreasonable promises. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to explain our platform in much detail, but I hope my VP’s have done that enough here tonight. All I’m asking is that the students trust me to provide the responsibility and dedication that is needed to be a strong Student Body President.”

Max Morley is currently senior advisor to Kurtis Frizzell’s administration and is a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Justin Brandt is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and has worked as an intern in the United States senate.

Travis Gault has served as president of Triangle fraternity and is currently pursuing a Ph.D.

The debate between Gault and Morley opened with statements by each candidate,

“These elections aren’t about SGA, they’re about the students, that’s why I’m here today,” Morley said. “I’m running so that I can serve and protect students at this university so that they can have the best experience possible here at U of L.”

running for president because I’m tired of being left out, and I want to bring together students from all ages, all races, all gender identities and backgrounds together,” said Gault. “The strength of our university is its diversity.”

One of the main distinctions between Gault and Morley are their opinions on advocating ideas to the U of L board of trustees. Gault said, “One of my strengths is that sometimes, I do understand that it’s not always my idea that should be the idea called for, it’s all the kinds of ideas of other people. And I have no problem advocating on behalf of other people even if it’s not something that I personally agree with.”

Morley also contrasted himself with Gault by saying, “I won’t go into a room and advocate for something that I don’t strongly believe in, because if it’s not one of my convictions, then I’m not going to push for it.”

During the course of the debate, Gault also accused Morley’s bill, the College Affordability Resolution, of not having any language in it that would make college affordable to students within the graduate program; He also cited this lack of language in the bill as one the abilities that listen to his constituents.

Morley contested this accusation, saying that the language that makes demands that college be affordable applies to all students, including graduate students.

Both candidates were asked what each one would do once in office.

Morley said, “In my first day in office my number one priority is going to be college affordability, just like it has been this last year.”

Gault said, “One of the things that I’m going to do the first thing I get into office is… I’m going to advocate for one student group that is consistently left out of the student government and that would be some of your graduate professional students.”

Morley explained that he has been a fighter against budget cuts and tuition hikes, and highlighted his advocacy for affordable education, by mentioning the College Affordability Resolution that he wrote and submitted to the Kentucky legislature.

Gault detailed some of the things he would do as president, like build more public/ private partnerships to rein in the cost of college. He also detailed campus safety as a top priority. Expanding reach services to encompass more classes and he said he would transform U of L into a “24/7” campus where students can eat, study and exercise at any time of the day.”

For the position of Services Vice President is Cards Unite delegate Michael Rediker and Card Vision’s Serena Wurth.  Rediker is the current Assistant Services Vice President, while Serena formerly held the position two years ago. Wurth’s main prerogatives include improving the meal plan by adding Ville Grille swipes and Cardinal Towne restaurants, administering sustainable lights on campus and creating a crosswalk for medical students downtown. Rediker’s goals are to improve campus health services by bringing qualified doctors to the counseling center and continuing his work on the new safety walkway.

For the office of Academic Vice President, Carrie Mattingly of Card Vision is running against Osiah Graham of Cards Unite.  Mattingly’s main objectives include advisor accountability and reforms for library services and general education programs Graham’s main objectives are to increase student awareness with SGA academic initiatives, implement advisor evaluations and provide an academic track system.

For the office of Executive Vice President, Austin Schwenker of Card Vision is running against Mike Schoen of Cards Unite.  Schoen’s main initiatives will be to update the SGA constitution online. Schwenker’s top priorities are to create subgroups in the president’s counsel and increase student involvement with SGA.

Voting for candidates for the top four positions of SGA will take place on Feb. 20 to Feb. 23 and votes can be cast through ULink.

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Photo: James El-Mallakh/The Louisville Cardinal

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