North Texas Daily

SGA debates tuition, transgender housing

SGA debates tuition, transgender housing

March 26
23:00 2013

Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer

The three candidates running for Student Government Association president met to debate student issues such as tuition costs and leadership onstage in the RTVF building at 7 p.m. last night.

Communication studies professor and debate team advisor Brian Lain served as moderator.

The three parties consist of International studies sophomore Shamaal Fletcher with pre-psychology sophomore Lauren Aldridge, sociology junior Precious Femi-Ogunyemi with communication studies junior Terrell Dionne, and Pre-political science sophomore Zachary Brown with pre-communication sophomore Anthony Brown.

Fletcher said that he would work with the Denton community to help students be more active in the city, including expanding student discounts and making sure students were able to get jobs based on work in the community.  Fletcher is also a veteran.

“I want to work with the city,” Fletcher said. “I want to go beyond UNT.”

Femi-Ogunyemi stressed increased communication with students in her platform.

She said budget transparency and being present in student life were her priorities, along with helping expand Wi-Fi to compensate for the Union Building being out of commission next year.

“I was tired of SGA always acting as the voice of the administration and not of the student body,” she said in her closing statements. “We want to be where the students are.”

Zachary Brown said his platform would focus on increasing school spirit by strengthening student involvement.

He proposed a Mean Green Gives Back program, which would encourage students to give back through community service. Additionally, he pointed to trying to get a program to bus students to road football games.

“It’s a brand new program that we’re trying to implement on campus,” Anthony Brown said. “It’s a program designed around the idea that UNT can give back, rather than just take from the community.”

Each candidate had slightly different insights regarding tuition, but agreed they would make sure any tuition increase was well warranted.

Fletcher, who does not pay tuition due to his veteran status, said he would make sure students know what proposed tuition increases would go toward and would get their opinions before making any decision. Femi-Ogunyemi agreed.

“What exactly is our tuition going toward?” she said. “It’s our money, our rules, and we should know what our tuition is going toward.”

Zachary Brown praised faculty, and said he would make sure that tuition changes that affect every student would benefit every student.

“Universal tuition changes to every student really should affect students universally,” he said. “There must be research to back it. I don’t buy a shirt until I know it’s the shirt I want.”

The vice presidents were asked about transgender housing issues. Aldridge said she didn’t want anyone feeling “alienated when walking on campus” and Dionne said he wants to make “Homecoming more transgender friendly.” Anthony Brown agreed with Dionne and said he will voice the opinion of the students.

NTTV was on hand to broadcast the debate live.

They will be rebroadcasting the debate in full over the next week. Students can find more information about the candidates’ platforms at sga.unt.edu/voting.

The online voting opens April 1.

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