Candidates square off
Thirteen hopefuls vie for SC executive positions in 17-day campaign blitz
The Student Confederation, AU's undergraduate student government, held the first event of the spring election process Wednesday night in McDowell Hall Formal Lounge as 13 candidates stepped forward for the SC Nominating Convention.
Six candidates for president, three for vice president and two apiece for comptroller and secretary took the podium to lay out their campaigns as the SC election cycle began. Board of Elections Chair Kyle Harding started the convention by asking the candidates to not run a negative campaign.
"Let's keep the election cycle clean and have 17 days of good clean campaigning, because we owe it to the students of American," Harding said.
The six presidential candidates outlined their campaigns, focusing on improving the SC. The candidates are: Noah Black, Steve Gilbert, Polson Kanneth, John Lancelot, Matt Miller and Will Mount. Each has had prior leadership experience in the SC, the General Assembly (the student-body legislature), and other organizations on campus.
Miller, who could not attend and was represented by Jeremy Holt, is working to build AU pride.
"It is pride that is the solution to all of our problems," Holt said for Miller. "Once we can unite as students, once we can be excited to get involved, once we can graduate loving this institution, then we will see a change." Black, the current president of AU College Democrats, wants to work with clubs to build better student programming. He said that his campaign is "not a step up for myself, but the next step for our university."
Lancelot wants to work on several issues on campus, including tuition, security, food service, the library and parking.
"I am here to listen to students," Lancelot said. "I am not here to dictate my position or my beliefs on students. I am here to listen to problems so we can come together and solve them."
The loudest of the presentations came from Kanneth as he brought up the issues of financial aid, security, parking and working with clubs and organizations on campus by offering them a seat at the discussion. Kanneth said of the clubs, "The chair is ready for them. If you vote for me, they are going to have that chair right now."
Gilbert, known to many on campus as "Big Steve," was unable to attend due to a class and was represented by his campaign manager, Jeff Quigley. Quigley spoke for Gilbert, saying, "You are all about to experience and witness the determination of a 6-foot-7-inch, 350-pound man from the Midwest."
The final candidate to speak, Mount, is a former member of the GA who set out on a campaign to knock on every door in all of AU's residence halls last week.
"You know you can say that you know what the students want, but did you actually go out and ask each and every student at this school what they want?" Mount asked. "I dedicate my campaign and the rest of my time at AU to ease the pain of Joe Student."
For vice president, Laurie Beth Barnes, Matt Merry and Jason Trombley are facing off for the top programming position in the SC. Merry said he is the best for the position because "you want someone who knows how to have a good time, and ... I know how to have a good time."
Trombley, who currently serves in the GA as head of the Programmatic Review Board, which reviews all SC programming, believes his experience is a key reason he should be elected vice president. Trombley said that money allocated for programs "hasn't been spent well enough."
Kevin Gilnack represented Barnes, who was out of town. Gilnack expressed Barnes desire to build a football tradition for the fall Homecoming event. She suggested, through Gilnack, that the SC should organize an intramural, powder-puff or club football game for the event in order to get students and alumni involved.
"I think it's time for the Student Confederation to get back to the basics," Gilnack said for Barnes. "I think the job of vice president is not just to program but also to reach out and make sure all AU students are engaged."
The remaining candidates are Will Prouty and Moamar Tidjani-Dourodjaye for comptroller and Jamie Rea and Iwona Rusek for secretary. Prouty, the current commissioner of the AU Transit Organization, said that he is the most qualified for the comptroller position.
"It is your money being spent by the [SC], not theirs, and I will manage it better than anyone else," Prouty said.
Tdijani, GA representative for the Kogod School of Business, is running in order to "represent the students who have believed in me," and to better manage the SC accounts.
Running for secretary, Rusek and Rea, both in the School of Public Affairs, are looking to improve communications within the SC and throughout the student body.
"The problem is the average student doesn't know what is going on [in the SC]," Rea said.
Rusek wants to use communications in order "to see the entire [SC] working together for the good of the students."
The candidates have 17 days to campaign as the election officially starts on Feb. 28, Harding said. Voting will run until March 2 and a runoff will be held on March 4 if necessary.
Candidates for Student Confederation executive positions