Five pairs of candidates are running for the offices of student body president (SBP) and vice president (VP) for the 2019-2020 school year. Of the 10 candidates on the tickets, only three have previously served in Associated Student Government (ASG).
All of the candidates are upperclassmen, except for Jonnie Taylor and Sydney Fowler, who are both sophomores. Elections will take place March 19-20 on the Hub.
Shelby Frye (SBP) and Julia Koenig (VP)
Shelby Frye and Julia Koenig cite their drive and passion as distinguishing them from other tickets.
Their main priorities are safety and wellness, diversity and inclusion and student empowerment — areas they believe are all interconnected.
Koenig, who currently serves as ASG’s Safety Chair and as the president of Feminists Working On Real Democracy (FWORD) for a third term, is particularly focused on safety and wellness. The ticket hopes to address sexual assault by setting minimum suspension lengths for students found guilty of sexual assault.
To create a more inclusive environment, Frye and Koenig want to design an in-person diversity training programming in addition to the existent module. They also want to centralize resources on diversity and inclusion, to allow for student activism to continue across graduating classes.
“The administration relies on having students like me graduate,” Koenig said. “That way these initiatives die off, like BAM 2.0 when many members graduated. We want these initiatives to have longevity.”
Frye is serving her first term as an ASG senator this year. She has worked as a tour guide for two years, as a mentor in the University Honors Program and as a student coordinator of the Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader (SOUL) program. Frye plans to expand ASG’s outreach by creating a space for student concerns online and sending out a monthly newsletter.
Gaby Meissner (SBP) and Hunter Meacham (VP)
When Gaby Meissner met Hunter Meacham in a microbiology class their first-year, Meissner mentioned that she planned to run for SBP as an upperclassman. They never imagined that, two years later, they would run together.
Meissner and Meacham’s campaign centers around three main themes: mental health, sustainability and diversity.
The Student Counseling Service (SCS) charges $25 per counseling session after a three-visit trial period. Meissner said she wants to eliminate the fee or establish a scholarship fund to make SCS more affordable.
Meissner and Meacham want to improve sustainability by placing a water-bottle-filling station in every academic building on campus.
To incentivize students to seek out diverse experiences and perspectives, Meissner and Meacham plan to create a four-year plan for incoming first-years that would result in a denotation or certificate at graduation. Meissner said she is still talking to administrators about how to implement such a program, but they have said it is potentially feasible.
“We want people to rise up to their academic potential, people to rise up to injustice, people to rise up to something bigger than themselves,” Meissner said.
Meissner has served on ASG for three years, and Meacham has never been a senator. They are the only ticket with experience both inside and outside of ASG.
Jack Kelner (SBP) and Wesley Ingold (VP)
Jack Kelner and Wesley Ingold have known each other since high school. They grew closer since coming to Miami.
“We’re both really interested in business. We used to brainstorm business ideas together in a spiral notebook,” Kelner said.
Their chief priority is addressing student mental health, an issue that’s personal for both of them. Kelner wants to outsource counseling for students, possibly through referrals to clinics in Cincinnati and Cleveland, as well as making sure students know about the services available at Miami.
Kelner, a management and leadership major and a member of Miami’s Motorsports Club, describes himself as representative of a typical student.
“I go out on weekends, but you can also usually find me in the library studying,” Kelner said. “I’m in touch with many different people.”
Jaylen Perkins (SBP) and Dante Rossi (VP)
Jaylen Perkins and Dante Rossi said they stand out from other tickets because not only are they advocating for inclusivity, but they both represent diverse populations.
“As being parts of underrepresented populations, we’ve lived through some of these experiences that we’re really aiming to change,” Rossi said. “We shouldn’t have a climate on campus where people are afraid to be who they are or might face discrimination solely because of their religion or race or sexuality.”
Perkins and Rossi’s campaign centers around improving diversity and inclusion, breaking down Greek stereotypes and advocating for health and wellness.
They both emphasized their goal to capitalize on relationships they have made – Perkins through involvement as president of the Black Student Association (BSA) and participation in the Black Action Movement (BAM) 2.0 last year and Rossi through being president of the Honors Student Advisory Board (HSAB).
Together, they want to create a more comprehensive Canvas module on diversity and inclusion, which would be more in-depth than the existing module that is soon to be required for incoming students.
Perkins and Rossi want to create satellite counseling sessions across campus to cut down on wait times at SCS. These would be free and would likely be held with graduate students.
Perkins and Rossi want to create a “tri-council emphasis” for Greek life in order to bring all the chapters together. They would institute philanthropy events held across all Greek organizations to change the perception of Greek life at Miami and bring the focus to “the good they do for the community.”
Neither Perkins nor Rossi have served in ASG before, which they hope will give them a fresh perspective, especially given the problems ASG has been facing related to diversity.
Jonnie Taylor (SBP) and Sydney Fowler (VP)
Neither student has been in ASG before, and because of that, both see themselves as typical students who want to advocate on behalf of the rest of the student body.
“We believe that we need to get everybody’s voices heard, whether they are a part of ASG, whether they’re a part of any other kind of council,” Taylor said.
Taylor and Fowler want to address transparency within ASG and to better communicate ASG’s actions with the student body. Concrete goals include creating a short recap video after each meeting and making it easier to contact senators and find their office hours.
The ticket aims to promote drinking safety instead of punishing students who commit infractions. Taylor said while AlcoholEdu, the online module first-years complete before starting college, is beneficial, it focuses more on learning drink sizes and less about “comprehensive, real-life ways to increase safety.” Taylor said the ticket wants to either improve this module or create a new one.
Taylor and Fowler also believe there is a need for dining hall reform on campus. They want to abolish swipes, despite ASG’s failed attempts to do so in the past, and work to implement more 24-hour options, including making sure King Cafe is open 24 hours. They also want to make it an option to not have a meal plan and to use declining balance at restaurants Uptown, although some restaurants already use MUBucks.
They want to bring more chain restaurants, such as Chick-fil-a, to Armstrong Student Center, despite other failed ASG attempts to do so.
Taylor and Fowler also want to work on accessibility on campus, provide more resources to departments outside of the Farmer School of Business and make sure clubs keep the Hub updated because student organizations who disbanded years ago are still listed, said Cory Ross, their campaign manager.
They also hope to work with President Greg Crawford to reverse the one-door Ingress policy. ASG passed a bill to change this policy and was told it cannot be reversed until the end of the semester when there is more data.
Correction on March 3: A previous version of the article stated that Julia Koenig was a member of executive cabinet. Koenig chairs ASG’s safety committee, but that is currently not an executive cabinet position.