Q&A with Baylee Clark, homecoming queen candidate


CW/ Baylee Clark

Shahriyar Emami, Staff Reporter

Q: What is your year, major and hometown?

A: I am a senior, and I am studying public relations and minoring in political science. I’m from Montgomery, Alabama.

Q: What inspired you to run?

A: Sexual assault and awareness is something that I have been passionate about for a long time. It’s something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about. It can be uncomfortable for them to talk about, but it’s something that should be talked about. The SAFE Center is something that I’ve been really looking forward to open up later this month. I love talking to people. I’ve done a few pageants before, so I thought this would be really fun to get to talk about my platform. Also, campaigning in general is just a lot of fun.

Q: What is your platform and why are you passionate about it?

A: My platform is the SAFE Center. The SAFE Center will be opening later this month. [SAFE] stands for Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner. Up until now, there hasn’t been anywhere in Tuscaloosa for the victims of sexual assault to receive critical attention. We have DCH, but we don’t have anybody that’s specially trained to deal with sexual assault, and it’s something that’s very sensitive. If you’re not trained properly to handle cases like that, it can be easy to cause more trauma to the victim, and that’s, of course, not something that we want.

The SAFE Center is something that we’ve needed for a long time. I think it’s really exciting that it’s finally coming together. There are SAFE Centers throughout the country, but we didn’t have one in Alabama. That’s something that the University did work to help bring here. SGA passed some legislation on it, and it’s been a real community effort to help bring it to Tuscaloosa.

Q: Why do you think students should care about homecoming court?

A: I think they should care because there are eight extremely deserving candidates that are all talking about something that we’re extremely passionate about. Even if you don’t vote for me, if I’ve told somebody something they didn’t know before, and they pass that information on to somebody that needs the services later on, then I’ve done my job. I think that goes for every candidate. Everybody just wants to talk about what they’re passionate about, and hopefully people will be engaged and want to vote, because whoever does win will get to represent our university for the next year.

Either way, just getting to talk about our platforms is what’s important to all of us. It’s important to tell students that their votes matter. I think a lot of people – because our campus is so big – can feel like their one vote isn’t going to change anything, and there’s not really a point to it, but there is. Everybody who thinks their vote isn’t going to count, that’s just not how politics works. That’s something that I am very passionate about, is civic duty.

Q: Why should students vote for you?

A: I think students should vote for me because this is something I really care about. It’s something that I’ve been passionate about for a long time, and I’ve done a lot of stuff in our community already to help advocate for sexual assault victims. I’ve been volunteering at Turning Point for the last year. I’ve actually been certified to work shifts at their 24-hour emergency shelter and to answer crisis calls, so it’s not something that I’m just doing because I wanted a platform to run for. It’s something that I’ve cared about for a long time, and now I’m just glad I have an outlet to talk to people about it.