The Daily Gamecock

Column: Student Government candidates for speaker, treasurer need to establish concrete plans in their platforms

<p>Second-year political science student Jordyn Vélez raises her hand to interject third-year international studies and criminal justice student Cameron Eubanks during the Student Government debate on Feb. 15, 2023. Both Vélez and Eubanks are vying for the position of speaker of the student senate.</p>
Second-year political science student Jordyn Vélez raises her hand to interject third-year international studies and criminal justice student Cameron Eubanks during the Student Government debate on Feb. 15, 2023. Both Vélez and Eubanks are vying for the position of speaker of the student senate.

Student Government candidates need to create solid plans in order to help implement their campaign promises effectively.  

Student Government candidates were announced on Feb. 9. Jordyn Vélez and Cameron Eubanks are running for speaker of the student senate, while Hannah Augsbach Lamma and Brandon Badinski are running for treasurer. 

Speaker of the student senate candidates

The speaker of the senate is the presiding officer for the 50 senators within the student senate.

Jordyn Vélez, a second-year political science student, now serves as the chief of staff to Natalie Trimble, the current speaker of the student senate. 

Some of the major issues that she wants to tackle as speaker are increasing the transparency of student government with the public, promoting communication with its members and providing training for new senators.

She wants to improve the transparency of Student Government by simplifying the way individuals are able to watch senate livestreams. Currently, the livestreams can be watched through Facebook, but it is a complicated process, so Vélez wants to switch to a more user-friendly platform. She also wants to send out newsletters that condense the information from these senate meetings. 

This is a great way to help the student body see what's going on within Student Government and the newsletters seem like an easy way for students to skim through what is going on without having to watch the entire senate proceedings. 

She then wants to provide training for the new senators that focuses on parliamentary procedure in order to help new members ease their way into their roles and help make the debates more civil. 

These seem to be great ideas to help stabilize the senate. Reaching out to all the senators and making sure that they feel that their voices and concerns are being heard and making sure that everybody is on the same page is a great way to reduce tensions that may subside within student senate. Also, training senators about the rules and customs of the senate meetings eliminates any misunderstanding about various procedures. This helps senate pass legislation quickly and efficiently. 

Vélez doesn't seem to have an elaborate plan on how she would properly promote the student senate, she talked about advertising senate meetings in Russell house better, but did not explain how she would do that. She should have talked about the specific ways on how she would make students more aware of the senate meeting and how see plans to encourage students to attend these meetings. 

Vélez seems to have realistic and attainable goals as the speaker, and her prior position in Student Government as chief of staff has allowed her to see the ins and outs of the student senate. With her experience within senate and the vision she has for improving senate culture, she seems to be reliable candidate compared to Eubanks.  

Cameron Eubanks, a third-year international studies and criminal justice student, currently serves as the director of student services in the office of the student body president. 

Some of the major steps that he plans to take involve creating a more bipartisan environment, having open communication with the student body and streamlining student services. 

“We need to do is actually create a positive bipartisan nature of students," Eubanks said. “We want to focus on legislation that is not divisive, want to focus on legislation that actually affects students and their everyday lives rather than national government issues.”

This would help relieve some of the tensions that are currently unfolding in the senate, such as the conflicts about the constitution and code. Eubanks also hopes this will reduce time wasted by avoiding topics that they won't be able to change at all. This allows the senate to focus on student centered legislation and create changes that would improve students lives on campus. 

He wants to help University President Amiridis improve the college’s advising system by hiring professional advisors whose sole job is advising rather than having professors do the this type of work. 

Additionally, Eubanks wants to make the reporting process for Title IX issues quicker and have more confidentiality in investigations. 

These ideas seem far-fetched and harder to attain compared to Vélez. Eubanks did not explain how he would help President Amiridis in hiring professional advisors. He did not mention how he could persuade the university administration to shift a professional advising model and what steps he would talk to help the university implement this change. He also talked about how he wants to accelerate the reporting process for Title IX, but he never talked about what specifically he would do to make this happen. 

Eubanks has good ideas and his visions to improve the university show that he is very passionate about being Speaker of the Senate. However, his goals seem too ambitious and unattainable. If he had solid plans to back up his claims, he would have seemed like a reliable candidate, but unfortunately he does not.  Eubanks's platforms seems like it is full of empty promises and his plans don't really seem like they will take any effect if he were to be elected into office.  

Treasurer candidates

The treasurer oversees creating and managing the live budget, as well as assists in providing funding to student organizations through the student activity fee and hosting treasurer workshops each semester.

The position of treasurer was eliminated during the 2021 elections but was reinstated on Jan. 18.  

Hannah Augsbach Lamma, a second-year accounting student, is currently the chair of the student senate finance committee. 

Her top priorities for treasurer are to engage student organizations more with Student Government and increase the number of comptrollers, the people who responsible for overseeing financial reporting, for the office of the treasurer.  

Augsbach Lamma wants to increase the number of comptrollers to make the process of allocating funds to various student organizations easier. This would help Student Government be more organized and have better management of the student organization budget. 

She said she wants to bring back the treasurer position because she has seen several students have complain about the fund requesting process and wanted this position to be reestablished in order to create a better form of communication with student organizations about fund allocation. 

Her current position as chair of finance has made her extensively aware of the problems that the student body faces which gives her a better idea of how to serve students. She seems to have extensive knowledge about how money is allocated and managed within student government.

She talked about how she wanted to increase outreach to student organizations through social media, as it would be more efficient, mentioning an instance where a treasurer workshop was being held, but the information about the event wasn't posted until the last minute.  

Augsbach Lamma seems like see would be a great candidate as she has had first hand experience of witnessing the faults of Student Government when it came to allocating funds, compared to Badinski. She also has a good grasp and how to help student organizations with their needs and inquiries. 

Brandon Badinski, a third-year sport and entertainment management student, is currently a student senator. 

His main goals as treasure are for the Student Government to utilize every single dollar of its budget and create transparency with the student body about how the budget is being used. 

“We simply don't have enough finance secretaries and deputies of finance to make this possible," Badinski said. “By reinstalling this position, we're simply allowing this to possibly, and hopefully, become a more equitable process, more comfortable, there's more outreach."

 Badinski wants students to have easy access to the budget, which provides funding to student organizations. He said that it is the student's right to this money, as the budget is derived from their tuition. Yet, he didn’t specify how he would be able to expand his outreach to organizations regarding education about requesting funds. The treasurer needs to make sure that organizations are receiving information about requesting funds and where they go to ask questions about this process, otherwise the whole budget may not get spent. 

“There is a current finance tracker, but it's not public to the students,” Badinski said. "I would work with student government advisors and then our delegates from the colleges of computers and engineering and be able to work with them to create a sort of backing system with Self-Service Carolina.”

This would allow students to have access to information about how the student organization's budget is being spent and how much is remaining.

Badinski's platform has the right morals and emphasizes the importance of honesty. His goals to want to increase education about increase transparency of the budget shows that he wants to help students and make sure that students have the right to access the money in the budget. 

Although the candidates have good ideas, it is important that they know how to implement them, and the steps that they are required to take. These candidates need a solid foundation for their platform in order to better serve the student body and their needs.