After Student Government elections were postponed last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students will finally get to cast their vote via their my.emich page from Sept. 30 at 8:00 a.m. until Oct. 1 at 8:00 p.m.
There are ten candidates for Student Body Senate that will appear on the ballot. One candidate, Tyler Wright, has confirmed he is no longer running or participating in Student Government, though his name will still appear on the ballot. There are 18 seats in total, so all candidates will be seated in the Senate following the election.
Keep reading for background and campaign information on the candidates running for Student Body Senate based on interviews with each candidate.
Tyler Kochman is a graduate student studying Urban and Regional Planning, this being his sixth year at EMU, having completed Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Urban and Regional Planning. He served in the student senate last year and is seeking his second term.
Kochman currently serves as president of College Democrats at EMU, having previously served as its treasurer. He is also serving as the Eastern Regional Director for the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, which is the statewide federation to which College Democrats at EMU is affiliated.
Policies and Goals:
Recreate an ad-hoc committee on disabilities to compile and release a report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of EMU’s accommodations and services for students with disabilities. The committee was created by the Senate earlier this year, but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic before its work was underway.
Prioritize the health and safety of students during the pandemic, by advocating for the safety of students to be the number one concern when the university makes decisions.
Bridge a gap in communication between student senators and the student body by requesting that EMU administration consider creating an interface to enable student government to send emails directly to the entire student body, similar to the university’s own communications with students.
MaKayla Stevens is a junior studying political science and African American studies. She is involved with WarriHERs, S.T.Y.L.E., You Beautiful Black Woman, and the NAACP at EMU and the Michigan State Conference. She is also an ambassador for the Center of Race and Ethnicity at EMU.
Stevens has made minority representation a top priority, saying she wants greater diversity in student government.
“So far during my time at Eastern Michigan I've noticed that when students of color speak out about things that bother us or that we have an issue with, we're never truly heard,” Stevens said in a statement to the Echo. “Our feelings are often invalidated and swept under the rug.”
Stevens is also advocating for Black student organizations on campus; she wants to see Black student organizations get more recognition from the university, something she feels isn’t currently a priority.
“My goal is to allow the voices of minorities to be heard and their talents to be showcased,” Stevens said.
Luis Romero is running for student body president as well as the student Senate. Student Government rules currently allow a candidate to run for both offices; if Romero wins his campaign for student body president, he would vacate his Senate seat. Otherwise, he will remain in the Senate.
Romero is a junior majoring in political science and economics. He is the vice president of Unmasked EMU, a group dedicated to human trafficking awareness and education. He also served on the President’s Commission on Sustainability, and is the Sergeant in Arms and Risk Management for Phi Sigma Phi fraternity.
Romero has served two years on the Senate already, and his goals for a third term include:
Provide free bus passes for EMU students that request them, similar to services provided by the University of Michigan
Create a low-income meal plan by allowing students to donate unused meal swipes that would go into a pool and be distributed to students with unmet needs
Create a housing scholarship to help students experiencing housing insecurity
Increase funding for EMU’s Counseling and Psychological Services
John Milkovich is a junior studying philosophy at EMU. His main priority is securing financial compensation for students; he is focused on helping relieve students of financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is also interested in proposing an expansion of the EMU bookstore into the recently vacated Amazon Hub in the EMU Student Center. He’d like to see more books offered for leisure, and he has proposed partnering with a local used bookstore to supply the books.
Erin McCargar is a junior studying Political Science. She listed housing, transportation, and the quality of life on campus as her primary concerns this year.
McCargar has also voiced support for providing free bus passes for EMU students that request them, similar to services provided by the University of Michigan.
Amanda Fox is running for her third term on the student Senate. Fox is a strong advocate for environmentally sustainable practices on campus, and plans to continue this advocacy for her third term.
Fox previously passed a resolution encouraging the university to switch its deicing methods from salt to beet juice, which she says is a natural alternative to the salt that can be toxic to water ecosystems.
Fox’s priorities this year include:
Reduce the amount of single-use plastics on campus
Create an application where students can trade or give away used textbooks and encourage professors to utilize older editions of textbooks whenever possible
Increase the number of recycling bins on campus
Advocate against tuition increases due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Collaborate with the Early College Alliance at EMU to encourage students to get involved with Student Government
Charis Bly’s goals for the Senate involve bridging the gap between the student body and student senators. She would like to help bring visibility to Student Government and encourage people to get involved by utilizing lobby tables in the Student Center, engaging in outreach on social media, and having a presence at student organization events on campus.
Bly is a Residential Advisor in Sellers Hall, and is dedicated to supporting student organizations of color on campus. She created and hosted the Black Excellence Mixer, and she volunteers with the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Scholars Program on campus.
She is also involved with the NAACP and serves on the Political Action Committee for the NAACP Michigan State Conference.
Tyus was not available for an interview at the time of publishing.
A’Rhyanna Tyus is a senior studying Criminal Justice, and she is focused on providing a voice to minorities on campus and encouraging an open dialog for discussing frustrations on campus.
Tyus has committed to holding bi-weekly discussions with students on non-partisan political topics, such as voter engagement.