Get to know Student Government presidential candidates
*This article has been re-formatted from it's previously published version. Please see editor's note at the end of the article.
The Student Government elections for the 2016-17 academic year will be held from March 30-31 on my.emich.edu. Here’s a look at the candidates running for Student Government President.
Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Kiera Fegan with running mate Nate Pyle
Fegan, from Brighton, Michigan, is a senior business management and communications student.
She said she is running for Student Government President because she is deeply rooted in Eastern Michigan University. She has been involved in Student Government during her entire undergraduate degree, serving as Speaker of the Senate for two years, which she says has given her “experience in advocating for students and promoting change on campus.”
She is running as a write-in-candidate on a three-pronged platform: sexual assault prevention, mental health, and diversity and inclusion.
Sexual Assault Prevention
Fegan said she helped plan Student Government’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week this past February. The weeklong programming drew 1,500 attendees and Student Government collected over 500 signed pledges to intervene in acts of sexual assault. She said she plans on holding the event again next year.
“Education about consent and intervention within a student’s first year at EMU is essential,” Fegan said. “This is an issue seen throughout the United States but we need our community to address this problem now, and can do so by working with the LGBT Resource Center and the Women’s Resource Center.”
Fegan said she will work to combat mental health instability by raising awareness of mental health resources on campus and encouraging their use.
“We will strive to promote a sense of community, inclusion and belongingness here at EMU and to eliminate stigmas associated with those who struggle internally,” she said.
Fegan said due to the Counseling and Psychological Services program being understaffed, students facing time sensitive issues might encounter a lack of availability.
“If elected, we would work to increase the number of full time staff at CAPS in an effort to get our students the help they need, when they need it,” she said.
Diversity and Inclusion
Regarding diversity and inclusion, Fegan said the university has “deep pride” in campus diversity. She said she and Pyle would promote collaboration between Student Government and marginalized conversations “to work towards actual change and away from stagnant conversations.”
“We will stand beside our fellow students in demanding actions, not just conversations, to make EMU a true home for every student,” Fegan said.
To make changes related to these three areas of concern, Fegan said she will use her experience working with administrators and students through Student Government.
In addition to her three-pronged platform, Fegan said she will also work to make campus more environmentally friendly by working to install dual-flush toilets and standardized recycling signs.
“I have seen the good that Student Government can do, and I want to give back to my fellow students and my institution by running for this position,” Fegan said.
Tanasia Morton with running mate Joshua Starr
Morton, from Cleveland, Ohio, is a junior political science student with a minor in communications.
She said she is running for Student Government President because she sees a need for a voice dedicated to students’ best interest through her conversations with “a diverse array of students.” Morton said she and Starr can achieve positive change for the student body.
She is running on a three-pronged platform: printing, student health, and meal plan affordability.
Morton said she wants to add three Quick Print Printer stations on campus and create a printing dollar rollover from the fall to winter semester.
“This rollover would not be year to year, due to overarching costs that should not be avoided, but it will still benefit the students to a great extent,” she said.
Regarding student health, Morton said she wants to reform the Snow Health Center. She said while $2 million is put into the Health Center, it only brings in $800,000. Morton said the university is loosing $1 million that could be used elsewhere.
“So, we want to bring in outside resources, like Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital and the Corner Health Center to collaborate with our Health Services and dramatically decrease the cost to students while increasing the accepted insurance options taken by the Center, making the Center far more useful and accessible to students, faculty, and staff,” Morton said.
Morton said the current two-week turnover rate for HIV test results will be changed if she is elected. She said $40-60 HIV testing kits will be invested in to deliver results in 20 minutes, “easing emotional and physical stress.”
Meal Plan Affordability
She said her focus on affordable on-campus meal options will insure student do not have to choose between an education, a meal, or housing.
“[W]e are looking to start a program during the time that Swoop’s Food Pantry is closed, where students who do not have enough money to buy food or have transportation to buy food over university breaks can eat,” Morton said.
She said she and Starr are confident they can achieve the listed changes before the end of their term. She also said there is a difference between inciting changes on campus and “instituting effective change for students.” She said they’ve consulted with university administrators and members of the city of Ypsilanti to develop these goals.
“Effective change is something that is done meticulously and once instituted, it will benefit not just a portion of students, but all students,” Morton said.
Editor's Note -
The Echo editors and staff welcome feedback from readers at all times. Reader feedback helps inform us about how our coverage impacts the community and teaches us how we can work to improve what we do as reporters. It also provides us an opportunity to respond to reader concerns and share our thought processes that go into covering the news on campus and the community.
The recent article on EMU Student Government Elections, by senior staff writer Mona Beydoun, (“Get to know Student Government presidential candidates,” 3-27-16) has generated some feedback that warrants our attention and we appreciate the opportunity to address the issues raised by some of our readers, including the perception of favoritism towards one candidate based off of race.
Our short response is: this was a misconception and is not the case at all. However, we do understand that some readers might perceive that to be the case, given that the Caucasian candidate was featured first in the article with a large photo at the top of the article, followed by the African American candidate, whose picture appeared much smaller near the bottom of the article. The decision was made by the reporter and section editor to feature the candidates in alphabetical order based on last names. No other factors played a role in that decision.
As for the photo size, both photos were provided to the Echo by the respective candidates. Our content management system on our website is set up, using a template format for stories, so that the top photo (the first photo uploaded) is always larger than the secondary and additional photos uploaded to a story.
With this said, in order to address the issue of the perception of bias, the editors have decided to re-publish the online version of the story in a new photo format, but is not changing the content of the story itself.
Thank your continuous loyalty and feedback.