Q&A: SGA presidential, vice presidential candidates Kevin Richmond and Scott Cooke
Student Government Association Presidential candidate and Romeo senior Kevin Richmond and Vice Presidential candidate and Andover senior Scott Cooke talked with Staff Reporter Octavia Carson about their campaign. Central Michigan Life will do question-and-answer interviews with all SGA presidential candidates. The general elections will be held from March 12-16; students can vote online.
Octavia Carson: What do you want to accomplish?
Kevin Richmond: The editorial that came out (last Monday) in CM-Life that said SGA was irrelevant stated our platform pretty perfectly actually. We are going against the idea that SGA is from a bunch of people that are in SGA and they always stay in SGA, and they move up the ranks, then they get elected president. Instead, we are from diverse areas of campus, we have been in other RSOs, other groups and we want to bring what we learned from those and into SGA to govern the whole campus. I feel like SGA is kind of secluding its campus or secluding itself from the whole body further and further. That kind of happened with the unicameral thing and the student body finally said, "No, that is not OK," and they weren’t OK with it, so that got rid of it. We kind of want to bring in what we know from everywhere else and kind of change so that we can represent the student body. More specifically, there are a lot of things we would like to look at.
Scott Cooke: They (SGA) are trying to get only academic audits and online signing for majors and minors. That is a great idea that we would like to push next year. We want to re-assess the committees and make sure the committees are doing things for the students and not just having work to have work. We just want to make sure that everything SGA does is for the students and not for SGA.
OC: How would you handle a situation such as the FA crisis?
KR: One of my favorite quotes is "Neutrality helps the oppressor never the oppressed." I like the idea (SGA) chose "students for students." I understand SGA is for students but by not choosing a side regardless, it did not help anyone. It did not push the students to help any direction. I am not sure exactly what we would do in a similar situation, because we would have to look at all of the facts and take polls and understand what the students want because that's really what is important. We would definitely push harder to find some side to take rather than taking no side.
SC: We would just also inform the students. I always go to those meetings, because we are both RA’s and I always tell my residents what is going on and what they should be expecting, because in the first few days of class they did not know where they were going to go and if the teachers were going to be there. Just inform the students so they know the truth about what is going on and what they should be expecting.
KR: That is something that is expected to help make your decision, because you have to know what is going on and so do the students. That is SGA’s job; to inform everyone and to represent the students. For them to find what side they want to go on, we have to inform them.
OC: Since the unicameral proposal will not be on the ballot, what would you like the bicameral system to look next year?
KR: Vince (Cavataio, SGA president and Shelby Township senior) did mention something in SGA where they were talking about a new proposal they want to form and it won't be on the ballot, but they are going to try to push it for next year. They did mention that they were going to have an indefinite amount of senators; they were open up to discussion about that and anyone who got the signatures would be allowed in. That is pretty interesting, and I do like that they are still working with the students, but it seems like there is still a lot of work to be done on it. I am not sure if the unicameral or bicameral system would be best right now. It kind of depends on what kind of proposals people come up with and I am working with a group right now; the "say no on Proposal 1" group who was protesting the proposal. We actually emailed SGA leaders, Vince and Colleen (McNeely, SGA vice president and Brighton junior) to try to get their opinion and help for the proposal, but I don't think we have heard back yet. We are looking forward to hearing back so that we can kind of get our input and their input and mold it together to get something that works for everyone.
OC: Kevin, what do you feel has prepared you to be the leader of SGA?
KR: When I was a freshman, I never considered that I'd ever even be running for SGA president. This is something that is mind blowing to me and it kind of developed over time. As a freshman, I started getting involved in hall council, then a fraternity and other things that I started to enjoy. Within this past year, people have noticed that I have just been involved everywhere and I am always busy doing something for campus, somewhere volunteering, in Greek Life or ResLife. That is when it kind of clicked to me that I kind of represent a lot of average students and I am very diverse in all of my involvements. I have been in e-board positions; some in RSOs and some in my fraternity, and I am starting to realize that I need to take all of that experience and all of the leadership styles that I have developed and take it to the next level. I think since SGA is supposed to be the representation of its students and I have taken everything from students, I would be the perfect leader for them now. I feel like I have gotten a lot of input from everywhere and all different aspects of campus, and now I am ready to take it to the next level and lead from the top.
OC: Scott, what experiences have you had that you feel will be similar to the vice president’s role?
SC: Like Kevin, I have had a diverse range of experiences. I won't pull on just one particular experience; I am going to pull on a number of experiences. My sophomore year I was a hall council president and just being able to delegate and facilitate groups of people, I am definitely going to pull from that. As the vice president, you are in charge of the senate and you watch over it. That is something I am pulling from the hall council president experience. Working over this last year, I have been club-running president and kind of overseen a lot of different areas of the club. Using those experiences, kind of overseeing people and keeping them on their game and giving them the freedom to explore what they want to explore. I hope to pull from all of my experiences.