The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Candidates present platforms during SA debates

The Mississippi State University Student Association’s Executive Council debate, hosted and moderated by the Speech and Debate Club, occurred on March 22 with every candidate answering questions on their platforms and positions.

Treasurer-Elect and current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Alex Bedwell, being the only candidate for treasurer, outlined his goals and spending priorities as treasurer. Bedwell emphasized the need to increase the transparency of where funds go and stretching those funds to meet as many needs as possible, as well as updating the out-of-date SA finance codes.

Next, the three candidates for secretary, Juan Benavides, Carley Bowers and Emily Young, took the stage.

Emily Young, a College of Arts and Sciences senator, said she wants to implement an online “suggestion box” to help students more efficiently communicate their needs to SA.

Juan Benavides, a performing arts/university organizations senator, emphasized the need to start going green at MSU, which means making sure recycling bins are recycled. Additionally, Benavides proposed a new public relations team to help better communicate with students and starting to implement more Spanish language resources for Spanish-speaking parents.

Carley Bowers, a cabinet member as one of the co-directors of Research and Development, wants to implement a new online filing system to contain all bills that the Senate passes, which would be available for all students to view. Additionally, Bowers wants to start sending out a monthly review email to students who want to stay informed on the SA’s recent activities.

All secretary candidates emphasized the need for better communication on how OrgSync functions, and more transparency for students on how SA operates.

Jake Manning, College of Engineering senator, community and governmental relations committee chairman, and current president pro tempore, along with Stephanie Flynt, College of Arts and Sciences senator and current chairwoman of the Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee, are the two candidates for vice president.

Manning stressed his main goal for Senate is to have it become a more effective, efficient and functional body. Additionally, Manning wants to create a Senate filing system, like Carley Bowers’s system.

“Across my time as a senator, I have been frustrated time and time again when plenty of good ideas arise, are worked on, research done, passed, taken to administration and they are shot down, ultimately because we don’t have enough influence on campus,” Manning said. “I have multiple ideas about how I believe we can go restructuring the way Senate is operated to increase our legitimacy, increase inclusion, build a stronger base and enable us to apply greater pressure.”

Flynt wants to further increase SA’s transparency, so students are more involved in the legislative process.

“In other words, making sure agendas are published before Senate meetings. That way people can contact senators if they have an issue with a certain bill,” Flynt said.

Flynt also wants to implement a “legislative ideas application,” where students could fill out a form to more directly involve themselves with a Senate committee to work on an issue. In the same vein, Flynt wants to make senators’ contact information more available.

Both candidates want to better improve the newly-implemented organizational Senate seats to better increase the diversity of thought in the Senate.

Finally, Mayah Emerson, current director of programming in the SA Cabinet, and Layton Little, current vice president, spoke as the two presidential candidates.

Emerson’s platform consisted of external and internal campus initiatives to serve both Starkville and the student body, as well as a focus on diversity and campus outreach. The platform included a new “State of our State” forum series, academic advising training, a leadership class taught by the SA President, lower textbook prices, online teacher evaluations and the Bulldog Locker system, which would provide rentable business attire for interviews.

“Diversity is a portion of this university that makes this place special. I’ve said it over and over during my time campaigning, so it is our job to not only preserve that diversity, but further that diversity,” Emmerson said.

Little explained he wants his platform to encompass a large variety of issues, so every student will find something to vote for. The policies range from live messaging with teacher assistants, notifications when someone drops a class, texting numbers for counselors, a major fair, lower prices at the concession stands and ending holiday/break testing.

“Those are issues that any student can wrap their mind around and can grasp onto one platform point, so no matter where you are as a student, whether you are a freshman, a senior, a new transfer student, an international student, there is one platform point for you,” Little said.

About the Contributor
Dylan Bufkin
Dylan Bufkin, Former Editor-in-Chief
Dylan Bufkin served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Reflector from 2020 to 2021. He also served as the Opinion Editor from 2019 to 2020.
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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Candidates present platforms during SA debates