East Carolina University’s Student Government Association (SGA) will continue its spring 2021 elections with students able to vote from 8 a.m. on Feb. 24 until 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 via Engage and SGA candidates for the executive tickets continue to share their platform ideas and goals for their potential new roles.
Executive Ticket 1 includes junior political science major Morgan Fried as the presidential candidate with junior political science major Hailey Hogan as the vice presidential candidate. Hogan said the pair hopes to tackle off-campus sexual assault and crime prevention efforts through the addition of lights throughout the grid, a neighborhood where many off-campus students reside.
Hogan said she sees posts on Facebook groups where young females have had attempted break-ins to their homes, cars and other unsafe encounters and she believes women should no longer have to feel unsafe where they live and attend school. She said the pair also looks to promote a more diverse campus for students.
“We want all students at ECU to feel like this is a safe and welcoming place for them, they shouldn’t feel judged based on their skin color or sexual orientation or anything,” Hogan said.
ECU can benefit from improved safety for its students in the future, according to Hogan. She said she doesn’t want the university to receive a bad reputation for its lack of safety, which could defer prospective students from future enrollment at ECU.
For the future of the university, Fried said he would like to see stability in leadership positions at ECU as the university faces current structural challenges where several interim positions make up the university’s leadership.
Fried said he hopes to create a more equitable university for students, where they can graduate and feel confident they will receive a job no matter their degree. He said in the spring 2021 State of the University Address, Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson mentioned the idea of education as something that is transitive, where students can go from lower class to middle and upper class status post graduation.
“We’ll see this upcoming year it's going to be a huge transition year because Dr. (Philip) Rogers is coming in and we’re very excited for Dr. Rogers and we’ll have to see what changes he wants to bring to the university,” Fried said.
Student engagement has been a yearly struggle for SGA, Fried said, as he has only seen a handful of public comments from students about SGA items. He said he would like to create a monthly newsletter to be sent to students to help keep them informed of current SGA initiatives.
Executive Ticket 2 includes junior finance major Chandler Ward as the presidential candidate with junior marketing and sales major Savannah Slade as the vice presidential candidate. Ward said the pair would like to continue to advocate for mental health awareness on campus and inform students available resources.
Ward said they would like to advocate for more transparency within ECU as he feels it lacks when leadership makes decisions. He said he would like to see an increase in student representation and consideration when leaders take action.
“Obviously a lot of people were frustrated with how the university handled tuition and student fees and housing this past year with COVID-19 and sort of seeing that we were left in the dark a little bit on some of those executive decisions,” Ward said.
The pair would like to advocate for the option for professors to attach their course syllabus to registration on Banner, according to Ward. He said he believes it would help students when they sign up for classes to be able to read a full description and see textbook prices, attendance policies and grade scales.
Ward said the university struggles with how they address frustrations from students in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the circumstances of the pandemic have created inevitable changes that have influenced how students learn and professors conduct their courses.
Slade said she would like to see the community around Greenville grow in the future in hopes to strengthen the relationship between ECU and the city. As someone who is from Bath, North Carolina, which is outside the Greenville area, she grew up immersed in the culture ECU brings to a community, according to Slade.
“The more support you have around the university, the more alumni you have around the university helps the people that are there and you have people there to lead us in the right decisions,” Slade said.
SGA can increase student engagement through the use of social media to communicate with students and encourage them to stay updated on SGA actions, according to Slade. She said the pair have seen a positive response from their Instagram page and if they win, they plan to continue to use their page as an additional platform between students and SGA.
Executive Ticket 3 includes junior computer science major Lilah El-Halabi as the presidential candidate with junior business administration major Marvin Francisco Del Cid as the vice presidential candidate. El-Halabi said the pair will advocate for diversity, inclusion and equity on campus to ensure students feel supported.
El-Halabi said as a minority student she feels the minority population is not represented enough on campus and she wants to advocate for all populations at ECU. She said the pair would like to bridge the gap between undergraduate and graduate students, who are not included in most campus affairs.
“We have hit almost every small part of ECU and grad students pay so much and they do so much for ECU and there’s a big divide between undergrad and graduate so that’s kind of the mission to making sure graduate students have a connection to ECU and they have say in the things that they’re doing,” El-Halabi said.
ECU struggles with representation of every population at the university, according to El-Halabi. She said she sees hesitation from minority populations to speak out when decisions are made by the university.
El-Halabi said she thinks the university cannot distinguish between genuine actions of change and token events to represent ECU and make the university look good. She said ECU is faced with the challenges of communication between the student body and the administration.
Del Cid said ECU can benefit from better communication and ability to listen better to students for a successful future. He said the university needs to incorporate these changes so students who may feel small and unheard can receive a voice.
“For me myself, I’m more of a quiet guy, I prefer to sit back and have somebody communicate with me and let me understand what their issue is that way I can help them,” Del Cid said.