Candidates who were running in the primary election include Cassie Billings, Elijah Neal and Becca Peach.
Troyer Goldman intended to run with Hope Brandenberger but was barred from the race by administration. As grounds for removing Goldman from the race, Dean Chris Confer cited Goldman as being “not in good standing” at the university after sharing a chapel QR code on the Anderson U app last semester.
“I appealed the issue of Dean Chris Confer’s misinterpretation of the good standing clause of the student handbook to the student court and made a strong case about my actual standing,” Goldman said. “The opinion of the chief justice was, at best, extremely disappointing. None of my concerns were actually addressed or refuted in the verdict. The judicial branch stood by Confer at his word as dean of students.”
The only clearly defined requirements to be in good standing as outlined by AU’s 2018-19 student handbook pertain to academic standing. Goldman’s academic records meet this criterion for good standing.
Chief Justice Joy-Faith Mwangi declined to comment on the decision of the judicial branch to refuse Goldman’s appeal.
“SGA is fundamentally a student advocacy group that should hold administration to account when they violate student rights,” said Goldman.
Goldman finds irony in his situation because a major part of his campaign was increasing the transparency and accountability between students and administration.
“This was one of the issues my campaign sought to fix, because the structure of student government is entirely subject to the administration,” he said. “This whole ordeal obviously confirms that. I would say that it is quite ironic for me to be barred from running by the same inconsistent conduct policies that my campaign was criticizing.”
“The biggest issue facing students at AU is the way the conduct policy is enforced,” he said. “It is inconsistent, and there is no transparency or accountability. Most students just don’t see it. It’s not as visible as a broken ice cream machine or as obvious as the wobbling Mocha’s tables.”
The other candidates also share a vision for a better AU, emphasizing campus reform in their campaigns.
Billings is a junior majoring in English and journalism running with CiCi Young, a junior major- ing in nursing and history.
Billings chose Young as her running mate because “she isn’t afraid of a challenge and is more than willing to help those in need when they need it.”
To Billings, the most important issue on campus is the broken stream of communication between students and the AU administration.
“The biggest overarching issue on campus is the communication gap between students and their administration, as well as the social bubbles within the larger bubble of AU and Anderson,” she said. “I notice there is a lot of information that doesn’t get translated properly or is misinterpreted. Half the time, people don’t know what’s going on on campus. As a family and community, CiCi and I believe we should be more in tune with each other.”
If elected, Billings hopes to find qualified individuals to fill cabinet positions.
“When it comes time to fill positions for our cabinet members, instead of asking our friends to fill these positions, we want to ask the different departments on campus for recommendations for people who would be best suited for that job,” she said.
Another part of Billings’ platform is community outreach. “We want to show Anderson that we are the hands and feet of Jesus,” she said. “We say we are a Christian university. We have chapel twice a week. But what are we doing to show the community we care? CiCi and I are aware that there are some community outreach programs on campus like Community Builders that we would love to give support to during our time in office.”
Neal is a junior running with sophomore resident assistant Nia Carter.
“I chose Nia Carter because she is a good friend, a leader on this campus, a strong woman and a great listener,” said Neal.
Neal also explains that he chose his running mate in the hopes that bringing greater diversity to SGA will bring greater representation to minorities at AU.
“There was also intentionality in choosing Nia because I wanted my running mate to come from a minority background,” he said. “I felt and still feel that in order to bring campus together there has to be minority representation at the top of SGA. I really did not want to run with a white male because I did not feel that would bring campus together.”
The most important issues to Neal are community and food.
“I believe that the most important issue is our community, which is part of the reason why I care so much about racial divides,” he said. “My friend Noah Schram said that food was the biggest perceived issue on campus. I agree, which is why Nia and I are meeting on Monday with Blake Milakis, the Chartwells manager. We have a list of student feedback that we want to talk about because students want more options, different pricing, better service and more nutritional value.”
If elected, Neal promises to clear his busy schedule to give the student body his full attention.
“I run a campus ministry, help with a club I started, used to be a justice for SGA, am the treasurer of Boosters and I work in the Center for Career and Calling,” he said. “However, I will not be doing any of that next year. I want the school and campus body to be my only work priority.”
Peach is also running and is a junior majoring in political science, economics and philosophy and history. She is running with Carter Haupt, the assistant resident director of Dunn.
“I chose Carter as my running mate because of his extensive history of involvement around campus,” said Peach. “He is one of my closest friends. Working alongside him, I have no doubt that I will be fully supported in achieving our goals, and I can be certain that we will be able to communicate efficiently.”
The most important issue to Peach is the lack of transparency between SGA and the student body and between SGA and the AU administration.
“When I say transparency, I mean that in a multi-faceted way,” she said. “Like the other candidates, I think this campus needs transparency between SGA and the student body. But I would add to that a need for transparency between SGA and the administration. SGA has to be willing to challenge the stances of the administration and to honestly communicate the sentiments of the student body to the administration.”
Peach cites LGBTQ+ rights as a prime example.
“For example, the majority of students on this campus support LGBT rights,” she said. “And that needs to be communicated to the administration.”
If elected, Peach hopes to bring recycling back to campus with a sustainable economic initiative and to promote mental health on campus by working with Counseling Services.
During SGA chapel on Tuesday, March 5, the candidates who made it into the general election will take the stage to represent their campaigns.
The general election will begin when SGA chapel is dismissed and will end on Monday, March 12. The newly elected SGA president and vice president will take over following commencement on Saturday, May 11.