Presidential candidates handled questions about transparency and diversity during the USGA Zoom debate.
The candidates debated on the improvements that can come from the executive council such as how the cabinets will be diversified and how USGA interacts with RSOs.
In her answer to a question about how her administration plans to be transparent and accessible Angela Lee, a junior majoring in chemistry and current executive vice president of USGA said in her answer that USGA needs to be more intentional on how to be more interactive. She said this includes publicizing meeting minutes and initiatives as well as other modes.
“One thing I would love to incorporate within USGA is having a Blazer Basics videos in which the USGA executive council has conversations with UAB administration and departments and we have short segments we can post to Instagram to be more interactive,” she said.
Peyton Perry, a junior majoring in political science and current associate justice for USGA said he wants to focus on students knowing what the student government is doing.
“I would love to focus on executive council and USGA as whole publicizing literally every move we make to the student body,” he said. “A lot of students I have talked to don’t even realize the Senate meetings in USGA are open to students. They don’t even know they can come and watch their student government and voice their concerns or offer up suggestions or ask questions,” he said.
A point where the candidates differed was on what cabinet appointments would look like for their administrations.
Perry said the actions he would take to make USGA reflective of the student body would be to bring in advisors rather than having the executive council make decisions by themselves.
“We would bring in people from the Student Involvement and Leadership office or from other offices to make their decisions externally to better mirror what the student body is,” Perry said.
Lee said bringing in outside advisors is not what their process is.
“In regards to appointing positions once again we want to make this a fair process. So, coordinating with other organizations like BMEN, BWOMEN, BSAC, SJAC, PPGA, other orgs, SMDP office; we can work with them. But I don’t think we should have an advisor or other adults in on this matter because that takes away our own power,” Lee said.
Perry said the problem of the executive council appointing people is the perception of the cabinet even if that perception may not be accurate.
“All too often the perception of students for executive council, for USGA, is that it’s just the same friend group in there every single year and that the executive council appoints their friends into cabinet every single year,” Perry said.
The two presidential candidates both have approaches that include expanding USGA that they say will assist in coordinating with RSOs and working towards diversity, equity and inclusion.
Perry said he would bring back the diversity, equity and inclusion coordinators as well as add more cabinets and bring in outside advisors.
“I would like to bring those back as part our platform. I would like to have those not be indicative of tokenism as stated in the past,” Perry said.
Lee said as president she would expand the director of student issues position into a division.
“One position cannot encompass all of the other disparities and experiences that people have,” Lee said. “If we have a DOSI division with specialized coordinators and roles that will allow us to better communicate and target those marginalized communities,” she said.
You can find Angela Lee and her running mate’s platform here.
You can find Peyton Perry and his running mate’s platform here.
You can watch the full debate here.