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SGA candidates kick-start campaigns for the year

SGA candidates kick-start campaigns for the year

SGA candidates kick-start campaigns for the year
April 03
14:36 2019

The Student Government Association officially kicked off its election season, hosting a candidate meet and greet Monday night at Kerr Hall.

Both tickets for SGA president and vice president were at the meet and greet, talking to students, candidates for senate positions and sharing their platforms.

Yolian Ogbu and Hillary Shah

Political science and communications sophomore Yolian Ogbu and political science and economics sophomore Hillary Shah are one of the two tickets running for SGA President for this election cycle. Ogbu and Shah launched their campaign on the morning of April 1, releasing a video on their campaign Twitter, which said, “It’s time to make UNT #ReflectUs.”

Though both Ogbu and Shah do not have much prior experience in SGA as senators, they said they see that as an advantage.

“We don’t believe having senate experience makes you any better than a random student,” Ogbu said. “Because at the end of the day, we’re all the same. We’re all students, we’re all here getting a degree. I’m just saying I have the privilege of having time to represent you guys.”

Ogbu has served as the SGA’s Advocate General since October.

Shah echoed Ogbu, calling it a strength that she has not served in SGA.

“Our campaign is about ‘reflect us’ and so we’re trying to reflect the needs of the students that have been ignored by SGA,” Shah said. “Right now, the fact that I’m not SGA means that I’m closer to the students, the fact that I’m not entrenched in that system right now means that I can best reflect the needs of the students.”

Ogbu and Shah’s campaign platform focuses on four pillars: equity and campus climate, student investment, interpersonal violence prevention and community engagement.

Under each pillar, there is a list of policy ideas such as gender inclusive housing, $15 minimum wage for student employees, increasing lighting on campus and increasing transparency within SGA.

“We wanted to have a progressive campaign, a policy-oriented action campaign,” Shah said. “We listed all that out and we started seeing patterns in all the things we wanted to do.”

Regarding campaigning, Ogbu said they have reached out to organizations and students who have not felt represented by SGA.

“As of today, we have endorsements from the Arab Student Association and from the [Pre-Physician Assistant Club] and the UNT Democrats,” Ogbu said. “We’re planning on getting a lot more throughout the week and throughout next week as well.”

Shah said their campaign is “really policy-oriented.”

“We have values and we also have things we’re going to do behind them,” Shah said. “When we say we want transparency in SGA, we actually have policy as to how we’re going to have transparency.”

Ogbu said at the end of the day, their platform is all about the students.

“What you guys feel like is a concern and [a] big enough concern, we’re going to voice it,” Ogbu said. “We’re going to get it done.”

Kennedy Montgomery and Khalil Anthony

The second ticket running for SGA president and vice president is made up of political science sophomore Kennedy Montgomery and biology sophomore Khalil Anthony. Both Montgomery and Anthony have prior SGA experience.

When asked how they decided to run, Anthony said he and Montgomery have worked together on legislation.

“We saw that we both wanted to improve campus life for all students,” Anthony said. “We just saw that we both wanted the same things.”

Anthony said they stand for unity in the sense of the word but also broken down as an acronym.

“It stands for understanding, new ideas, inclusivity, transparency and then you,” Anthony said.

Montgomery and Anthony’s platform also focuses on intentional diversity, focused versatility, purposeful student engagement and uplifting the community.

“We know that we wanted to improve campus life and we know that to pass initiatives everyone has to be a united front when we talk to administration,” Anthony said.

Montgomery said their platform and their passion makes them unique.

“I think it’s our true belief in students and their ability to not only come together, but come together to enhance the university, come together to create positive change,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery also said he thinks the experience he and Anthony have will help them better serve students.

“I really have a — I would say — a broader general understanding of what students need and how they can be better assisted,” Montgomery said. “And how we can better come together to help each other.”

While there are no specific policy ideas in their platform, concepts like diversity are stressed.

“We must work and strive to continue this effort to every part of UNT and to advocate, promote and enhance overall diversity providing more equal exposure, opportunity and chance for diversity to not only take place but to thrive as it is a key factor to the legacy of UNT,” their platform reads.

Anthony said through diversity comes new ideas.

“Everybody has a different point of view and so through those different points of view, we can get ideas from different perspectives,” Anthony said.

Montgomery said he is looking forward to the campaigning process.

“I love talking to people, it’s just who I am,” he said. “I’m really passionate about creating change, but not me only doing it or ‘I can do this’ or ‘I can do that’ but ‘we can do this’ and ‘we can do that.’”

Anthony said they will campaign around campus by tabling and through posters as well as the rollout of graphics and videos.

“The ideal [is] of students coming together to stand behind something basically greater than ourselves, not only for UNT now but for the UNT we won’t see,” Montgomery said. “The UNT five years from now.”

Senatorial campaigns

There are 41 students running for SGA senate, with the most running to represent the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at 14 candidates. Behind CLASS is the College of Health and Public Service and the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, each with five candidates.

SGA Election Dates

Campaigning for SGA began Monday, April 1 and will conclude at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.

Voting will begin on OrgSync at 8 a.m. April 8 and conclude at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 10.

Featured Image: Current SGA President Muhammad Kara addresses members of SGA at a meeting on Jan. 23. Image by: Ashley Gallegos.

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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