North Texas Daily

Student body presidential candidates hold Q&A session

Student body presidential candidates hold Q&A session

Student body presidential candidates hold Q&A session
March 24
00:12 2022

SGA presidential and vice presidential candidates Jermaine “JT” Turner and Aalyhia Shillow held a Q&A session Wednesday evening to address questions and concerns regarding their platform and goals as executive leaders. 

Turner and Shillow are uncontested in the race and are running on the campaign slogan, “It’s Now or Never.” Their platform revolves around four main pillars: inclusion and equity, engagement and outreach, academic and social advancement, and SGA sustainability. The pair said they have known each other since high school and have a strong connection and shared passion to create change within the school. 

“We are fun, and we are exciting,” Turner said. “I feel like when you have leaders who are passionate and happy, that energy spreads.” 

Turner currently serves as the president of the Black Student Union and said he is running because he has seen a disconnect within SGA. He expressed the importance of advocating for students. 

“Every undergrad student pays for SGA and the elected leaders should advocate for them at all times,” Turner said. “I feel like our SGA is at a point where it is now or never, we’ve seen over the past couple administrations that we have been stagnant, complacent, and we need to do better for students.”

Turner and Shillow first addressed campus safety and pointed out that at the same time as the Q&A event, a protest unrelated to SGA was occurring outside of the Business Leadership Building because some students do not feel safe on campus.

“We want to of course promote inclusive programming with our LGBTQIA+ community, and with what’s going on with the trans community, making sure they feel supported,” Turner said. “It’s our job as students leaders to stand up and say enough is enough.”

A key goal of the Turner-Shillow campaign is to create a more comprehensive and efficient SGA, which includes bridging the gap between executive leaders and the senate. 

“I run my leadership based on feedback,” Shillow said. “So if I’m leading a group of people, that means we all make the decisions together. I’m going to sit down with the senators and ask, ‘What do you want? What do you think we should initiate?’”

Turner also said that he believes the disabled student community has been let down, and he strives to promote more initiatives for them. This includes making the Office of Disability Access more accessible and having translators available for deaf students at every event on campus.

When asked about how they will keep their campaign promises, the duo highlighted their success in accomplishing goals within the organizations they are currently a part of, as well as their strong connections with campus administration. 

“JT and I already have these great relationships with admin,” Shillow said. “Hostile would not even be a part of the conversation. They might tell us that what we are proposing is unreasonable, but we can restructure and compromise.”

Psychology and political science junior Kaylen Ruiz, who serves as a senator for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said she was proud of both of the candidates. 

“I am so excited that [Turner and Shillow] are going to be the representatives for what UNT thinks of when they see SGA,” Ruiz said. “I hope that spans for many more years to come.”

More details regarding the candidates’ platform can be found on the SGA elections website.

Featured Image: SGA executive candidates Aalyhia SHillow and Jermaine ‘JT’ Turner answer questions during a Q&A event on March 23, 2022. Photo by Jaqueline Martinez

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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