In what is normally a lively debate, unopposed candidates for three top executive positions answered questions in front of a
sparse audience on Sunday evening.
Quin Kelly, a graduate student studying public health, monitored the discussion, asking the candidates questions about their platforms and experience in the Student Government Association (SGA) in a ballroom of about 70 people.
Participating candidates were Demarcus Joiner, who is running for SGA president, Jason Rothfarb, who is running for executive vice president, and Jillian Fields, who is running for executive vice president for external affairs.
Here are some highlights from the discussion:
Joiner elaborated on his plans to cut down school supply costs by allowing textbook donations to the library for students to rent, and he also touched on a counseling app, which he’s been researching with Ruperto Perez, the associate vice president of student life.
But questions went beyond his vision and experience, and got to the root of a more existential issue within the SGA.
“So SGA hasn’t had the prettiest past, and we know that,” he said in response to a question about the ethics of the SGA. “But SGA’s future is beautiful and bright, and I believe once students actually understand what we’re doing in SGA and how hard we are working to help educate our campus, they will understand that SGA is not unethical.”
Rothfarb wants to continue his work as vice president for student affairs and work on getting more restaurant discount cards for students who achieve academically. He is also looking to bring Dining Dollars into Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The executive vice president works hand-in-hand with the First Year Council (FYC), and one of his main platform points is to get incoming students involved. In response to a question about how he would make sure the FYC pool was diverse, Rothfarb said he would reach out to dorm RAs and form partnerships with the Black Student Union and the National Student Association.
“I think more people should be running, especially for executive positions,” Rothfarb told The Crimson White. “I think everyone running this year is the most qualified to be in their respective positions, but just like Demarcus said, it’s ‘bittersweet,’ because we do want to see more people engaging in elections. Maybe next year there will be more candidates.”
Fields’ campaign platform focuses on making off-campus housing more affordable for students, forming a partnership with the West Alabama Food Bank and working with the Safe Center. Specifically, she wants to expand the 348-RIDE route so students who need to reach the SAFE Center can do so without having to pay for an Uber or Lyft.
Fields wants to improve campus safety by collaborating with the University of Alabama Police Department as well as continuing to collaborate with the SAFE Center, and she believes her experience as a senator has helped her form the community relationships necessary to live out these plans.
“I definitely hope that all voters know that I am extremely open, and of course I have ideas that I would like to implement that I think would be able to improve their experience,” Fields said. “But more than anything, I want to hear from the voters, and I want to hear ideas that they have.”