SGA presidential candidate Jonathan Schuler says his focus is on the big picture
Running mates Jonathan Schuler and Darby Hollis said their ticket's focuses would be on reforming the Student Government Association's culture to include more student voices and seeking increased cooperation with the university.
In a meeting with Central Michigan Life's editorial staff Sunday, Center Line graduate student Jonathan Schuler and Westland graduate assistant Darby Hollis, candidates for SGA president and vice president, stressed they would do more than just focus on specific projects wanted by few on campus and would instead look at the bigger picture, focusing on issues including tuition and student retention.
"I think if you're talking to students about their main concern, if they give you a pretty honest answer, I think most of them will say it's figuring out how to go to school and afford it," Schuler said. "I don't think they'd be interested in working on projects that affect only a small group of students."
Schuler said campus safety would be a top priority of his administration.
"I don't know what would make the safest campus. A lot of people's ideas coming together would," he said. "I would like to meet with those on campus who are responsible for safety ... (I know that) we rank fifth in the state, that doesn't sound so great — we're the fourth-largest school."
Schuler criticized the SGA's handling of the academic calendar, saying he didn't believe the group sought enough input from the university or student body.
"I think the reason why the SGA rejected (the calendar change) was because the few in the SGA who were most in power didn't want it to happen. I don't know if that was really (representative of) the student body at large," Schuler said.
Schuler said SGA's relationship with the university has to improve, and that will be one of his most important tasks when he is SGA president. He said the academic calendar was an example of how SGA has interacted with the university incorrectly.
"Let's say that I was president next year, and the academic calendar was proposed – that would have been a different process," Schuler said. "I wouldn't have just rallied the troops in SGA and said this probably isn't good for the SGA. We would have talked it through with the administration; we would have tried to work more collaboratively on that."
Hollis said even though she has no experience in the SGA, her experience being a teaching assistant in the political science department and her study of internal affairs will make for a quick transition to SGA vice president.
"I have a good idea of how government works, so the student government shouldn't be too big of a challenge for me," Hollis said.
Although he said he can't completely reform SGA's culture in one year, Schuler said his administration plans to make progress.
"Most students probably don't know what SGA is or know as much as they should about it," Schuler said. "But changing the culture of it from the top, making it more open to diversity of opinion, I think will put it in the direction of making it more inclusive widely."
Voting begins April 1 and goes through April 5.