[open] slate enters SU race with forum

| News Editor

In front of about 60 supporters, sophomore Morgan DeBaun and her slate, [open], announced their intentions to run for Student Union executive positions and explained their platform on Wednesday night.

The slate is the second to enter the race after Bold Slate, led by junior Nate Ferguson, announced its run last week.

While DeBaun is running for student body president, sophomore Kirsten Miller is seeking the position of vice president of administration, junior Eliot Walker is running for vice president of finance, sophomore John Harrison York is running for vice president of programming, and sophomore Cody Katz completes the slate as the candidate for vice president of public relations.

Around the room, sheets of paper were put up on which students were encouraged to write what they thought about the slate’s proposals.

In her speech, DeBaun explained the vision for SU that she would pursue if elected. According to DeBaun, SU has not given students the opportunity to reach their full potential because it has “gotten caught up in bureaucracy” when it should be a “beacon for student empowerment.”

Katz then spoke on what SU could do for students and how it could use its clout to ensure that student views were heard.

“Co-programming between student groups should be encouraged by Student Union, not made difficult,” Katz said.

Katz said that groups that wish to pool resources to program often face obstacles that should be removed.

Miller focused her speech on establishing a student rallying center, which she envisioned as a place where students could gather to study.

“We want to be able to use this space for more student groups,” she said.

She also said that the space could be home to a weekly “cultural cheap lunch,” in which student groups such as Ashoka would be able to sell food during lunchtime, serving as both a fun event for students and a fundraiser for the respective groups selling the food.

York presented the vision for bringing big speakers to campus that students want to go see. He brought up 2008’s vice presidential debate as an event that brought the campus together, as there were various events happening on campus that all students took part in. He also mentioned political strategist Karl Rove and adult film star Ron Jeremy as big-name figures who recently visited campus and sparked discussion.

York said that he would rather see one $50,000 speaker than 10 $5,000 speakers, as it would be a more effective use of resources.

“We really want to go big or go home with this stuff,” he said.

He also mentioned that he would like to see the return of Thursday club nights, as they were discontinued halfway through last year, despite the fact that many students attended.

Walker spoke about making the process of appealing for funds easier to encourage individuals or groups of students to come forward with their own initiatives.

“It’s your Student Activities Fee, and it’s available to you,” he said.

After the candidates finished speaking, three guest speakers talked about what they want to see happen at the University. Former Vice President of Administration Trevor Mattea spoke about changes he wanted to see made to SU. He is currently collecting signatures to get his proposals on the ballot for students.

The Student Sustainability Fund and the Washington University Climate Alliance were also represented at the event.

The first slate to enter the race, Bold Slate, announced its candidacy on Feb. 3. Bold Slate hopes to improve the student experience by increasing school pride and increasing campus card functionality so that it may be used off campus. Bold Slate’s platform also includes making SU more accessible to students, helping people feel comfortable approaching SU and viewing it as a tool for advocacy and event planning, as well as drafting a five-year strategic plan to improve SU.

Election packets must be turned in to the SU office by Feb. 22.

Senior Regis Murayi said that he was interested in what the slate had to say, so he attended the event.

“It surprised me that there was an event like this,” he said. “I don’t think I’d seen something like this. I thought it was a good idea, and wanted to see what other ideas they had.”

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