Questionnaire

Editor’s Note: There are eight University-wide representative positions, for which 15 candidates are running. Eighty percent of University-wide representative candidates responded to the Daily Texan Candidate Questionnaire, and we judged the candidates based on the quality of their written responses as well as their performance at Monday’s candidate debate. All photos were provided by the candidates. Voting takes place Wednesday and Thursday at utexasvote.org.

 

Kallen Dimitroff, history and government junior

Kallen Dimitroff has been involved in numerous school organizations in her three years at UT. She previously worked as a first-year representative and a Liberal Arts representative in Student Government. With this experience, she is inspired to create a yearly conference sponsored by SG in which leaders from every major student group discuss issues of importance. She’s devoted to increasing unity on campus and helping students get connected. We strongly recommend Dimitroff.

 

John Falke, BHP, finance and government sophomore

John Falke is committed to student participation in the University. With ideas involving larger and more involved student organization fairs and an increased emphasis on student organizations at freshman orientation, Falke wants students to recognize all their options. As a current member of the Assembly, Falke has the experience needed to be an effective representative of all UT students and a desire to improve the internal culture of SG. We strongly recommend Falke.

 

Anika Agarwal, biomedical engineering freshman

Anika Agarwal does not believe that Student Government cannot effect real change. By “getting the student body more involved in the process of student government and by making the process of enacting legislation more transparent, SG can effectively mitigate this misconception,” Agarwal believes. This freshman’s solutions to campus issues like hours of operation in dining halls and bus route timing are practical and appeal to all ages and types of students. We endorse Agarwal.

 

Hayley Cook, advertising junior

Hayley Cook believes firmly in a “commitment to excellence” and strives to be a good leader. We were impressed to see that she has a specific goal targeting the availability of online recording of lectures to students on campus, and using technology to document SG progress. We liked her idea that by engaging and informing students, SG has an opportunity to empower the student population at UT. We recommend Cook.

 

Alejandrina Guzman, psychology sophomore

Alejandrina Guzman is dedicated to improving handicap accessibility around campus because she does not believe the amenities in place are enough. Guzman displays an initiative to speak on behalf of a group not always represented in Student Government. For her interests in student safety and updated accessibility, we recommend Guzman.

 

Kevin Helgren, psychology and neuroscience senior

As a newcomer to SG, Kevin Helgren makes up for his lack of experience with passion. Helgren believes in transparency and plans to implement an open-door policy — complete with monthly assemblies open to the student body —  if elected. Helgren has the drive and unique perspective to turn this campus around. We recommend Helgren.

 

Santiago Rosales, finance and economics freshman

Santiago Rosales is well aware of the necessary improvements that need to be made within SG and the University as whole. A first-year representative, he cited outreach as a major source of improvement, as well as internal communication. His long term goal is to “see a stronger UT challenge the Ivy League and lead the nation in research and alumni notoriety. That begins with a firm investment in the student life of my peers and a dedication to opening more doors for all students at UT.” We recommend Rosales.

 

Spencer Schredder, economics and international relations & global studies junior

Spencer Schredder understands the problems that exist within Student Government. For him, accountability and ethics play a large role in his life and will surely transfer over if elected. He plans on opening clear lines of communication between SG and the student population as well as increasing cross-cultural understanding and eliminating wasteful spending that could easily be more responsibly allocated to deserving groups and causes. We recommend Schredder.

Editor’s Note: The candidates for Student Government college representatives were judged based on their responses to the Daily Texan Student Government Candidate Questionnaire. The response rate for each college is included below. Only those candidates who completed the questionnaire were considered. Candidates’ responses can be found in our candidate database here. Voting takes place Wednesday and Thursday at utexasvote.org.

Architecture —  No responses

Business — 3 spots, 100 percent responded

Micky Wolf is a business and Plan II freshman. He has what it takes to be an excellent McCombs representative. His language for change is strong and demonstrates a strong desire to be proactive and take initiative in his role as a college representative. He’s looking to further civic engagement in SG and listen to the voices of the students he represents by means of open forum. We strongly recommend Wolf.

Ben Norton is a business honors freshman. If elected, Norton promises to throw himself in the “trenches,” so to speak. A supporter of the title “servant leader,” Norton promises to be a face in the business school as opposed to a name only a select few know. We recommend Norton.

Communication — No responses

Education — No responses

Engineering — 3 spots, 50 percent responded

Gregory Ross is an engineering and Plan II sophomore. He stresses the importance of dependability, communication and cooperation in a student leader. Ross has met with faculty members in a variety of fields to discuss expanding the Freshman Research Initiative (popular within CNS) to allow Cockrell freshmen to get involved in research. We strongly recommend Ross.

Fine Arts — No responses 

Geosciences — 1 spot, 33 percent responded, no endorsement

Graduate School — No responses

Law School — 1 spot, 50 percent responded

Daniel Hung is a first-year law student and Daily Texan columnist. Hung served in Student Government as the director of the Students with Disabilities Agency from 2011 to 2012 and served on the Parking & Traffic Appeals Committee from 2013 to 2014. He feels strongly about amplifying law students’ voice and increasing their involvement with the rest of the campus. His previous experience in Student Government and concern for an often-ignored population on campus would make him a good Law representative. We recommend Hung.

Liberal Arts — 4 spots, 100 percent responded 

Tanner Long is a government junior running for re-election who has already proven himself as a dedicated workhorse for student interests. When all too often, students with big ambitions in SG will say lots but do little, Long is a breath of fresh air that follows through on his promises. On issues as diverse as the sound ordinance, campus carry and voter ID, Long has consistently stood up to the city and the state on behalf of his fellow students. He has also shown initiative in campus issues, such as a recent proposal to limit Friday classes.  We strongly recommend Long.

Jenny McGinty is a Plan II freshman. She possesses a valuable mixture of a positive reputation around campus and clear, succinct goals if elected. Specifically, we were wowed by McGinty’s dedication to and seriousness about creating a greater sense of community within the College of Liberal Arts. All too often, the college is seen as the “other” school in this University, where the entire miscellany is lumped together. McGinty, more than any other candidate, appeared to understand this and be willing to work hard to address it. Her proposals regarding transparency were also positive. We recommend McGinty.

Connor Madden is a Plan II and business freshman. He impressed this editorial board with his unmatched attention to detail in his platform and candidate questionnaire. Madden undoubtedly understands the complex nuances of the position he is running for, but we also found ourselves very supportive of his campaign goals. If elected, Madden pledges to shy away from the petty bickering, reminiscent of a junior high school cafeteria, that SG devolved into a few times this past year. He also has a novel plan to increase public visibility of SG and improve their relations with other organizations on campus. We recommend Madden. 

Natural Sciences — 5 spots, 75 percent responded

Cameron Crane is a human biology senior running for re-election and has many lofty yet attainable goals for the College of Natural Sciences. The specificity of his initiatives is what makes him an excellent candidate. He seeks to expand upper-division class offerings to include a Monday/Wednesday sequence instead of solely MWF and TTH sequences. He also wants to partner with McCombs’ Alumni Relations to increase CNS Alumni gifts in order to improve facilities, provide scholarships and increase the number of classes that are video recorded. He hopes to create a liaison program between the Dell Medical Center and our pre-med students, as well as explore dual enrollment possibilities for CNS students and establish joint research opportunities. We strongly recommend Crane.

Laura Zhang is a neuroscience sophomore who is actively involved in the College of Natural Sciences as well as UT at large. We like her goal of promoting more funding for technology and lab equipment, more scholarships for underrepresented minorities (as well as all students), and more opportunities to utilize student passions to inspire others — especially female students — to get involved in STEM. As an advocate for collaboration, she told us she “constantly want[s] to see progress and find ways to mediate differing opinions to form the best idea.” We recommend Zhang.

Rebecca Sostek is a neuroscience freshman who may be young, but is certainly ready and able to take on the role of a Natural Science representative. While experience may not be her strong suit, she is motivated and cites her desire to learn as the catalyst for running. She wants to increase the sense of community at UT. She believes if the “students at UT or the Natural Sciences came together and worked hard to make a sea [of] orange into a group of people with varying strengths, an unlimited amount of good and improvement could come out of it.” We recommend Sostek.

Mukund Rathi is a computer science junior who has written numerous op-eds for the Texan. He believes that communication between students and official organizations are disconnected and his goal is to resolve this issue by making the SG Assembly more vigilant and engaged. He includes in his platform a pledge to stop budget cuts and tuition hikes, prevent sexual assault and end racism. While we do not agree with the substance or tone of all of Rathi’s positions, he has worked tirelessly for student interests since he arrived on campus and would not hesitate to challenge administrators when they needed it. We recommend Rathi.

Social Work — No responses

Undergraduate Studies — No responses

Editor’s Note: The college-specific representatives were judged based on their responses to the Daily Texan Candidate Questionnaire. The response rate for each college is included below. We have not endorsed contests in which the candidates were uncontested.

 

Architecture —  Uncontested

 

Business — 3 spots, 100 percent responded

Business sophomore Sapan Patel demonstrated an impressive and in-depth understanding of the issues affecting campus, including the University’s Shared Services plan. His interest in serving on the Legislative Affairs committee demonstrates that he knows his own strengths and is interested in doing the best by the assembly. Strongly recommended.

Business honors freshman John Falke has experience both in UBC and internal Senate, indicating that he can serve as an effective bridge between the two organizations. His legislative ideas are not terribly exciting, but his resume is impressive and indicative of his ability to do the job.

Business sophomore Jackson Clifford is attuned to the needs of the business school and has innovative ideas for involving minority students in Student Government, including the creation of an external position in black student groups. His answers demonstrated a clear grasp of SG’s jurisdiction and mentioned concerns about late-night dining options and parking availability, both of which have appeal beyond the business school.

 

Communication — 2 spots, 66 percent responded

Public relations freshman Ruben Cardenas demonstrated an understanding of Student Government’s jurisdiction and mentioned several pressing student issues, including pedestrian safety, stealth dorms and the need for a longer Thanksgiving break.

 

Education — Uncontested 

 

Engineering — 3 spots, 50 percent responded

Architectural engineering senior Jamie Nalley has been involved in more than four engineering student organizations, making him a strong representative of his college. His answers were well-reasoned, eloquent and specific. Issues he is interested in pursuing include Campus Climate and the Urban Rail. Strongly recommended.

 

Fine arts — Uncontested 

Geoscience — 1 spot, 50 percent responded

Geological sciences senior Jessica Sherman was well spoken and seemed to understand the issues affecting her college.

 

Liberal Arts — 4 spots, 66 percent responded 

Government junior Tanner Long has the experience with on-campus organizations, including Hook the Vote and University Democrats, to serve as a student leader. His idea for a “civics week” on campus, which would highlight civic engagement, was particularly engaging.

 

Natural Science — 5 spots, 50 percent responded

Biology junior Anish Patel is involved in several Natural Science student groups, including Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society and SURGE (Science Undergraduate Research Group). His answers were well-phrased and demonstrated an understanding of and an interest in Student Government. 

 

Social Work — Uncontested

 

School of Undergraduate Studies — 1 spot, 50 percent responded

Undeclared sophomore Sachin Chandiramani, the only candidate for this position to respond to the Texan, understands that the primary goal of UGS students is to transfer into another college and will work to ease that transition.

 

Co-op Board of Directors — 2 spots, 50 percent responded

Accounting senior Alex Bryan shows an impressive understanding of the problems facing the Co-op today and hopes to increase funding for student organizations from its current allocation of just $20,000. He brings key experience to the position, having served as the scholarship chair of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

Business sophomore Garrett Neville wants to make the most of the UT relationship with the Co-op by looking for ways to increase the student rebate program a well as pushing for more affordable course materials.

 

University Unions — 2 spots, 33 percent responded

Communication studies junior Vicky Nguyen, although the only University Union candidate to respond to the Texan, is interested in better utilizing the union spaces as well making it an appealing place for student to spend their study time.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly used feminine pronouns to refer to Jamie Nalley. Nalley is actually a male.

Editor’s Note: Eighty-two percent of University-wide representatives responded to the Daily Texan Candidate Questionnaire. We judged the candidates based on both their performance in the Monday night debate and the quality of their written responses to our survey.

Braydon Jones — Government junior Jones performed like a political pro in the debate, and his strong grasp on important campus issues, such as Shared Services, is impressive as well. Braydon is likely the most well-qualified candidate running for University-wide representative. Strongly recommended. 

Mauricio Garcia — As a transfer student from UT-Brownsville, government senior Garcia represents two campus groups that don’t often find their way into Student Government: transfer students and students from the Valley. His concern over campus safety was well-reasoned, and he has extensive political experience from previous positions on local campaigns and in the Texas legislature.

Taral Patel — Biology sophomore Patel rightly criticized SG for focusing so heavily on toilet paper in recent legislation instead of more pressing student issues. By mentioning sexual assault at the debate, he strayed from the typical script and showed a willingness to tackle issues that campaigns tend to avoid.

Maira Jorge — Anthropology junior Jorge’s involvement on campus and the desire she expressed to eventually work in the University student affairs both demonstrate her strong commitment to UT students. She gave smart and concrete answers in support of undocumented Longhorns, for whom she would be a strong advocate. 

Lee Lueder — Plan II, business honors and finance junior Lueder spoke during the debate on requiring SG members to attend other student organization meetings, which is a smart solution to the difficult problem of making SG involved beyond its own affairs.