Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chris Matheny Q&A

Interview with Chris Matheny, candidate for Attorney General. His opponents are Stephen Pavey and Kelsey Queen.

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Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Chris Matheny: I have a lot of experience in SGA. I’ve been a Justice for three years, was Prime Justice for one semester, and I’ve been Chief Justice for three semesters. I’ve also served on several committees, including judicial reform, ethics, and have done a few things with SGA Affairs as well.

CS: What initially attracted you to the SGA?

CM: What I really like about our Student Government is that it’s policy-based, and you don’t see that at a lot of other places. Especially, a place like Marshall will do an “SGA Dance.” That’s what they do, they don’t actually advocate for students much, other than maybe a fundraiser here and there. We actually work with real university policies.

CS: Why did you decide to run for Attorney General?

CM: I wanted to run for Attorney General because it is a position where I can strongly advocate for students. I want to do a lot of things in that, as far as writing procedures for the University Hearing Board. I feel that’s the best position to do it from.

CS: What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

CM: Well, writing procedures for University Hearing Board [laughs]. That’s really the big one. I also want to go around to individual groups and explain the Judiciary system to them. It seems for most people, it is some enigmatic thing that is behind closed doors. Nobody really knows how it works, what happens. People get sent through it, you get a letter, they really don’t know much about it and that’s something I want to change. I figure that if people are more aware of the system, how it works, they’re less likely to run afoul of it. I’d also like to ensure that the judicial system adjudicates the cases to really educate students and really correct behavior, because all too often, we forget that the system is not punitive. It never should be punitive. That’s not how Dr. [David] Bard started it, back in the 1960’s, and that’s not how we should continue now.

CS: What are your plans if you’re not elected?

CM: My plans if I’m not elected are to write procedures for University Hearing Board [laughs]. I’ll still be a Justice and it will still be very important to me. And, while it will be somewhat inappropriate for me to go around as Chief Justice and tell groups, I feel it would be more appropriate for me to do as Chief Justice, but I would certainly advocate for the Attorney General or Public Defender to do that. Grace Hurney, or either of my opponents in the Attorney General race would be capable of doing that. Essentially, I want to do anything anyway, even if I’m not elected.

CS: What do you think of your opponents campaigns?

CM: My opponents, or the campaigns? [laughs]

CS: Either one.

CM: Well, I’m really kind of surprised this year. A lot of campaigns are really scaling it back. I think that’s a good thing. I remember back when Rocky Seay ran for President, everything was covered in paper. You just couldn’t get away from it. Now, it’s toned down. The race has been clean, that’s definitely a positive. I think my opponents are good people. Clearly, I think I’m the more qualified for the position and would do a better job, otherwise I wouldn’t be running. I think Kelsey is good, she has legal experience, which is good. But, don’t think she knows a lot about the Judiciary system at Concord, which is non-adversarial. I think Stephen Pavey, he’s a freshman, I think he can get a little more experience. But, I can see him going somewhere in SGA.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and where do you think they can improve?

CM: I think the SGA is doing well [long pause]. Well, it’s my experience, the SGA is either really “hit or miss” on something. They’ll either do really well working with the policy, getting it through all the appropriate committees and enacting it, or somebody will just drop the ball terribly. I think you can see that in Higher Ed. Day last year, that was just a catastrophe. A lot of the policies you see, that are going through the Board of Governors level, except for Curtis [Kearn]’s setbacks that he mentioned, are generally successful. Also, working with CUSAC, I feel that we are able to come up with a policy for off-campus jurisdiction that restricted a lot of what the administration wanted, and I feel that’s a good thing as well.

CS: I noticed you were initially on the SGA board [in the SGA Office] for Public Defender and President. Why did you drop out of those two and decide for Attorney General?

CM: Honestly, I wanted to see what names would go up there. As far as President goes, I do not want to be SGA President. I thought about that; it really takes a lot of - not that the Attorney General position wouldn’t, but it really takes a lot of time and commitment and I would never run for that position unless I truly thought I could put forth that time and effort. As far as Public Defender goes, I think Grace Hurney is a good candidate. I have a working relationship with her. She does a lot of stuff for the judicial office and she is certainly a good candidate. Although, I do hate to see Josh Lawson go, but I do think Board of Governors will be a position he will succeed in.

CS: So, you just put your name up there to see what people would say?

CM: Mhhhm Hmmm.

CS: In the Presidential race, we have two members of Tau Kappa Epsilon running. I’ve asked both Korey and Matt about this - is there any kind of divide between the TKEs, or is this a friendly campaign?

CM: I’d like to think every campaign is a friendly campaign, but that is not always the case however. I think it’s great that we have two TKEs running. And, I don’t mean to get too far into fraternity stuff here, but I’m glad we have two people that are actually qualified to run for the office in our fraternity. I think that shows a lot of our values and what we espouse. And, the leadership, obviously. I think it’s a good thing that both of them are running.

CS: I’m going to put you on the spot here - who would you rather see as President: Matt Belcher or Korey Hummer? Or, Rob Elsaid?

CM: Well, honestly, I’d have to go with Korey Hummer. I remember Korey came up to me before the elections, and said, “I’ve been thinking about this for a while, what are your thoughts on this,” and I advised him to do it. I think he’s a good candidate, he’s got some good, solid ideas. I think a lot of people tend to overlook him just because his experience was in the Judicial branch. I’ve worked with Korey Hummer for three years. He’s a great guy, a good Justice. He makes fair, right choices. And, I don’t see anybody better in that position.

CS: That looks like everything I have. Is there anything I haven’t brought up that you think students need to know?

CM: That the SGA is an advocacy organization. If it can’t advocate effectively, or does not, it will cease to be useful to students. And, so I would urge students to vote for whoever they think will advocate the strongest; who will put in the most hours for the students. Because, I think those people are the ones the student body will need in office. I also encourage students to go out to the polls, even if they’re going to vote for me or not. I think it is certainly an important part of their civic - well, as much civic duty you can really have in an SGA election. I certainly believe it’s right to reflect what the student body wants. The student body is pretty smart.

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For more information on Chris' campaign, check out the Facebook group "Chris Matheny for Attorney General."

Rob Elsaid Q&A

Interview with Rob Elsaid, candidate for President. His opponents are Matt Belcher and Korey Hummer.

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I consider Rob Elsaid to be a friend of mine. We attended high school together and have maintained a somewhat personable relationship since then. Our time spent together in high school comes up a couple times in the interview.

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Chris Slater: To start off with, what is your SGA experience?

Rob Elsaid: I originally started off as the WMLT rep. I served for the first semester and then the second semester of that term, I wound up withdrawing from school. Since then, I’ve come back and I’ve been on Budgetary, worked on several different committees. More specifically, I did the Higher Ed. Day by myself, which was recognized by President [Jeff] Yeager. I’ve been a rep. on and off for the past three years. Of course, I’ve always worked behind the scenes to help any individual who has asked.

CS: What initially attracted you to the SGA?

RE: Originally, I was forced to go to the SGA. Pretty much, WMLT said they needed a rep. and, even then, it wasn’t really highly looked upon by students. So, I ended up being the na├»ve freshman saying, “I’ll do it!” because I wanted to be helpful, which is something that carried over from high school.

CS: Why did you decide to run for President?

RE: Honestly, I was asked to make sure that we had a decent candidate, I guess you could say. People weren’t exactly sure who was running, although rumors were around. I was asked by a couple students to try it and after a long debate with Lesley [Weeks, his fiance], I came up with the idea that I would run and see what the students say.

CS: What do you plan to accomplish if you’re elected?

RE: Honestly, as of right now it’s a high possibility that Josh Lawson is going to be the Board of Governors representative. And, if that happens, I think we have the ability to get a lot more accomplished than most administrations because of our relationship with the administration. First of all, I’m really wanting to push for the international housing initiative there, it just needs the logistics worked out. And, the truth is, it’s not so much what I want to get done, it’s what the students think they want done. The students are the ones who pay for the services here and any administrative person you run into will say that there’s room for improvement, but the question is how? Right now, Dustin Blankenship, me, and Josh Lawson are working on a $15,000 grant to bring green sustainability to Concord. We do this because we love this school.

CS: What will you do if you’re not elected President?

RE: If I’m not elected, I’m going to continue working. I will assist students on an individual basis, as I always have. And, when asked to help, I usually do.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

RE: I’d prefer not to comment about that. I can see a reflection of a lot of things, that I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and where do you think they can improve?

RE: The SGA has worked on the Ethics committee very largely. I do think that the SGA has become very complacent, which allows it to get more done. But, being complacent is harming them because students are becoming seemingly more apathetic. Without that voice behind the SGA, the SGA really doesn’t have a big place here and they really need to improve on being the voice for the students.

CS: You’re an older, kind of a more “non-traditional” student. Will that affect your abilities to be a student leader, more so than somebody living on campus; somebody younger?

RE: No, I actually think that - I’ve lived on campus and experience makes people better at their jobs. You typically don’t have somebody that has never been to law school be your lawyer. The more experience you have, I would hope the better you’ve gotten.

CS: You were taken off the ballot for Attorney General in 2008. Why was that?

RE: In 2008, there was a big mix up concerning how many weeks I had served a representative, this and that. And, the courts decided that it was not right, as I gave them the only proof that could validate whether I was or was not, and that was a statement from an individual that was here at the same time I was. And, unfortunately, the ballot was already done and it was last minute, and I was unable to be placed back on and run for the Attorney General position.

CS: So, were you supposed to be put back on the ballot and they couldn’t do that?

RE: Yes.

CS: Do you think they should have handled that differently?

RE: Umm… I was there when the decision was made. Joe Lanham was the Prime Justice. I think he was persuaded to do so. He was trying to be safe, rather than sorry. And, he was already being threatened with being impeached. Which, later, of course, led to him resigning.

CS: With you out of the race, Jeff Yeager would up winning that election. And, his good showing as Attorney General kind of allowed him to become President. Do you think things worked out for the best in that regard, or do you still wish you had been in that race?

RE: I would have loved to have been in the race. But, when I was forced out of the race, I personally went and supported Yeager. If I wasn’t going to be in the race, I wanted to voice my opinion. And, at the time, I think it was very well-known that there was a plot to get me out and some of the opponents cause that. And, so I did the best thing I could, which was pick the next-best candidate in my eyes, which was definitely Jeff Yeager. And, he has gone on to do extremely well in SGA.

CS: Negative campaigning regarding a situation in your past was starting to come up in the last election, which didn’t get a chance to come up. There’s kind of been rumors that it may come up this time. What are your thoughts on negative campaigning in general? And, if you’d like to address anything, you can.

RE: I think negative campaigning can serve a place for campaigning, as people deserve to know who they’re voting for. People do deserve to know who they’re voting for is somebody embezzled thousands of dollars from the school, or this and that. But, when it comes to personal issues where it does not affect the job, it doesn’t deserve a place. My issue was concerning me and my wife. Which, officially, was dropped due to her best friend coming forward and saying it was a plot. I don’t want to go into great details about it, but if I was such a horrible person, I wouldn’t be allowed at Concord, and I wouldn’t work for John David Smith.

CS: Here’s a tough question for you: remember that time in high school when you got us all “in-school suspension” for yelling out of a window?

RE: No, I don’t. [laughs]

CS: That was me. [laughs] Actually, you may have gotten out of it. I got Dave and Ralph in trouble. Anyway, that looks like everything for me. Is there anything else you’d like brought up?

RE: I have flyers up explaining this, I am using only original ideas for my campaign. I am not building off false promises. Everything I say, I plan to do. As proof of that, you can look back at my track record. Even when I didn’t win, I did what I said I was going to do for constituents. And, also, I just want to try and make a database of student complaints. I gave my e-mail address to everyone that has a concord campus box, so that if there are ideas for complaints, improvements, the SGA will know. And, from there, I will have a true platform to build off of. Because, like I said, it’s not so much what I want, it’s what the students want. And, if any students want to look at any current issues, they can look at all of them on my Facebook page.

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For more information on Rob's campaign, check out the Facebook group "Elsaid for SGA President."

Matt Belcher Q&A

Interview with Matt Belcher, candidate for President. His opponents are Rob Elsaid and Korey Hummer.

Note: the first 6 questions were asked in a group interview, along with Adam Pauley, Kelsey Queen, Grace Hurney, and Spencer Stevens. The remaining questions were asked one-on-one.

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Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Matt Belcher: My sophomore year, I was elected as a Senator. I served as Housing chair, and have served on numerous other committees. I am now the current Business Manager to the SGA, and I serve on CUSAC as well as the Budgetary session committees. I also had a small hand in planning the Spring Fling of last year.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

MB: What initially got me interested in it was, I was involved in a high school SGA and a lot of things weren’t very productive, we weren’t very good at advocating for what the students wanted in high school. When I got to Concord, I stayed out of it my freshman year, because I didn’t really know, I was trying to “feel out” how this SGA was going to act. Once I saw that they were a productive SGA, and an SGA that did move forward for students, I got involved as a Senator and started working my way up, with my eventual goal to become President.

CS: Why did you decide to run for your position?

MB: With dealing with the administration on several different issues, I began to see that it wasn’t very black or white as our previous administrations had painted it. A lot of the times, they’ll be interested in helping students and helping improve student life. And, that’s something that I really found interesting. Being in the Business Manager role, I don’t have a lot of ability to vote on different things of different natures. I don’t have the ability to voice my opinion on different natures of different things. I’m pretty much just limited to the money. The role of President interests me because I feel that I’m best suited for that position to be able to best lead the student body, forward with change, hand-in-hand with the administration as long as they’re willing to participate in what’s best for the student body. I feel that I can work well with administration, as well as the students. And, I also want to work there in a respective manner, but not letting the administration forget, that the students are the reason they’re there. The students are the reason we’re here. We should try and make the best life possible for the students on this campus?

CS: What will you do if you’re not elected? Have you made those plans yet?

MB: I’ve already tried to work on a few different things that I’ve promised, like a “Welcome Back Weekend.” I’ve already spoken to a couple different people in Admissions. They’re willing to work with me, as long as I’m willing to put something together. Should I not be elected, I want to push forward with that idea, with the ability to invest student funds into a project that will 1) create a better student life, 2) be able to take student revenue and create scholarships. I’d like to turn that, as well as a few other plans, smaller plans that I have, over to whichever candidate should win and hopefully they’d take it from there.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

MB: I think we all have something different. All Presidential candidates have something different to bring to the table. And, I think it’s important that students realize who has the most experience dealing with legislative and executive matters. And, I think it’s important for students to take note of who can prove what they’ve done, who can prove that they are progressively moving forward for students. I think that’s a major point, because anyone can say that “I’m going to do this, or I’m going to do that,” I can even say “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.” But, as far as I know, I’m the only Presidential candidate who is promising to come back around and check in with the organizations to ensure that they’re happy, different parts of the organizations and different students, with random surveys to show that we as the SGA are doing our job for the students. When we speak before students, we are essentially applying for a job, a job that the majority of the student body can give us. And, I feel that it is best that we check back in with them to make sure we’re doing our job correctly.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

MB: It’s a particularly interesting time to be in SGA, especially at the end. A lot of our executives and legislatives are scurrying to get last-minute things done. Something I want to comment on, this is Gary Thompson, he’s actually doing a very good job with the “Going Green” initiative. He’s actually talking with a lot of organizations, trying to find volunteers to collect trash. At the beginning of the [academic] year, we allocated $3000 to buy recycling bins for the Student Center. We were thinking we were going to have to rethink this because of the lack of people to take the materials to be recycled, but it appears now that that may be moving forward a little quicker than we had thought. That’s something I would really like to comment on. I also think that the Executive Board has been really good, in terms of cohesion and working together. Something I would like to say that we should do better on is that we should all try and work better in a manner to where we don’t have issues coming out to the paper, we don’t make the organization as itself look bad. That brings down the name of SGA, it makes people even hesitant to come to SGA, and it also makes us look like we’re not doing anything for the students.

CS: One of the first times we saw you in the SGA was when Wes Prince appointed you using the Maxwell Clause as Vice President. What are your thoughts on that whole situation? [The Maxwell Clause allows the SGA President to make executive decisions over extended breaks, without the approval of the Senate]

MB: That was a mess. I was a Senator originally, by popular election. Wes Prince had approached me said he’s be appointing a Vice President and asked if I’d like to apply for the position. I said yes, graciously. I went through the interview process, as well as a few other qualified candidates. And, in the end, he made a decision. There’s a little bit of controversy over this. Some people say that he made the decision to first appoint Brad Garner, and then changed his mind to me. I don’t know for sure, either way. That’s a better question for Brad Garner or Wes Prince himself. But, in the end, it came down to me. He wanted to appoint me. Over [winter] break, I had begun working on Spring Fling, because of Marshall [Campbell, then-SGA Advisor]’s advice, saying that if we waited we may not be able to get certain events and the price will go up on those events. So, over the Christmas Break, I took a lot of duties of negotiating contracts and all that.

The members of the Senate found out that I was negotiating these contracts and doing different things in the Vice President capacity, and they were very angry about it. A lot of letters went out, a lot of blogs went out against me for Vice President. Among other things, Wes Prince had decided to go ahead and appoint me using the Maxwell Clause. And, then he had a change of heart and decided to not appoint me using the Maxwell Clause and go ahead and have the Senate approve me if they chose to do so. He e-mailed a letter to the Executive Board, which leaked out from his Executive and members of the Legislative got it and posted it. It was a large mess, largely because nobody got the real story. No one came to me and asked, “What exactly are you doing? Why are you doing this?”

I was operating strictly on Marshall’s advice. He had dealt with events in the past as Student Center Director and the advisor of SAC, which is now SOAP. So, I figured he had experience in different projects. And, I trusted that if we did wait we may lose specific events to students. We may not get the best prices on events for students, which would affect the number of events we can bring. And, that’s important because if I have a $15,000 budget, if the price goes up on these, the number of events goes down. If I’m earlier, lock in lower prices, I can get more events for the students here are Concord. When I started working on those, I got few things accomplished here and there, but again, legislation found out and it became a mess. Once the e-mail was sent out to legislature, they got very angry. Another blog was posted, comments were on that. Then, I went before the Senate to be approved as Vice President. The Senate ultimately voted no. I think it was 22-11. Once they voted no, I served as the Interim position, until Wes could find another person. Mainly because the contracts were already underway, Spring Fling had not been approved yet, nothing had been sealed and done. As Interim, I continued to plan Spring Fling as the Vice President would, until Wes decided to appoint another person in the Vice President’s position. It was later on that Wes decided to appoint Ashley Hicks as Vice President and I moved back down to Senator. And, that was really the sum of that.

CS: There seemed to be problems getting the Budgetary committee organized both semesters. Why was that?

MB: I use an Excel spreadsheet to organize everything, as far as the budget. That way, I continuously know how much money’s in the account, how much we’re spending, and how much we can afford to allocate. When we print off the sheet for this last budget, I’m not sure what you mean by the fall - I may need you to elaborate there. When we printed off the sheet, on this last Budgetary session, it was simply just a lack of time. I looked at the clock, and saw that it was 3:15, and was like, “Oh, I’ve got to go print this off.” It was really just a lack of time. When I printed off the sheet, I brought it in and due to some technical errors, some organizations showed up twice; just some minor typos.

CS: In the fall, it took longer to get the budgetary started. I think it happened in October?

MB: When the budgetary session kicks off, it is actually something right after that, as soon as we return, we pretty much have to get the budgetary process rolling. I received no formal training from the office of Business Manager. And, actually, former Business Manager [Curtis] Kearns had left a lot of reimbursement forms not finished. So, I not only had to clean up organizations who did not receive their money last year - they waited the entire summer to receive their money - they just sat on different desks or whatever. Either former Business Manager Kearns did not initial something or it did not get there in time, different numerous reasons. And, it was not all Business Manager Kearns. It was things with the Business Office, small technical difficulties. And, those things kind of had my time tied up during the beginning.

Again, we really didn’t notice that budgetary was upon us, so we voted to suspend that portion of the bylaws to move forward with the budgetary in the proper order. But, really, the majority of the time I moved into office was cleaning up last semester’s re-allocation. You can ask Alpha Sigma Alpha, for instance. That was one example. I think they had over four or six hundred dollars that they had not received yet, because it had been processed, but not sent all the way through. APO was another one. Different organizations were still trying to get their money. And, that was an issue. I wanted to get them their money before I allocated more money. And, then we also had $10,000 that had rolled over from the previous semester, specifically allocated to certain areas. And, that had to be readjusted. I had to speak with the Business Office about that, and say, “This is going here, that’s going there,” and different things of that nature. Getting everything lined up from last spring semester really took up a lot of time at the beginning of last semester.

CS: It seemed like you were unprepared to answer questions about the budget at this meeting -

MB: A lot of people assume the Business Manager has the authority or say in the budget. That’s not really true. It’s actually a really weak position, as far as those people who want to say “I control the money, I do this.” The Business Manager, if you operate by what the Bylaws tell you to do, you’re simply there to 1) monitor funds and 2) hold the Budgetary committee. I try to aim with my appointed positions, because there’s a number of candidates that are appointed by popular vote by the senate and then there are two positions that I, myself, appoint. After looking over the people the senate had elected themselves, I appointed two people I felt would add diversity to the committee. My main goal was to try and accomplish a true representation of the student body with these. I want someone who is Greek, I want someone who is non, who knows about these organizations, but not about these. I want there to be a well-round committee. When we go into debate, it’s all closed session. When we go into debate about things, a lot of different reasons get talked about.

And, when it comes down to it, in the end I really can’t provide one reasoning as to why this organization received so much money or that organization received that money. I’m there simply to moderate the Budgetary committee itself. The Budgetary committee makes the recommendation to the Senate and then the Senate adopts it. I can name off different reasons, but I can’t give specific reasons as to why this was done. Reasoning and things like that, I really can’t speak for the six or seven people that were there. It was kind of difficult to be put on the spot to give a committee’s reasoning, when I simply chaired it.

CS: Korey Hummer, he’s also a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, are you two running a friendly campaign against each other, or is there any kind of divide between the organization?

MB: [long pause] Korey Hummer decided to run for President shortly before the polls closed. His decision to run was news to me, considering he had not really been a part of the executive or legislative branch. He has a few of our fraternity brothers backing him. I do know that Mr. Kearns and Mr. Matheny are helping him with his campaign. As far as the organization itself, I don’t know. I like to think that most, the majority of our brothers will stay impartial. And really try to make a fair vote, not based on who they like, but who’s going to do what’s best for the student body. As far as a divide in the organization, based on this issue, I don’t think so. I think that they will look at the issues that we address in our Presidential campaign and vote accordingly.

CS: Some TKEs have held some high-profile positions in the SGA in the past. Have you ever had any communication with people like DJ Boland, Jared Tice, or Keith Pruitt?

MB: Keith Pruitt, I talk to on a normal basis. I like Keith. His opinions on things are usually fair. He has a lot of experience in SGA and TKE as well. So, a lot of times I’ll be going through some issues or I’ll be having some ideas - some controversial inner thoughts or something - a lot of times I will go talk to Keith. He’s still right here on campus, he still comes around. I go to his house frequently. Less frequently with the campaign now, all that we have to do. And, Jared Tice, I’ve also spoken to him on numerous occasions. He’s actually still involved heavily with the fraternity. So, I see him every once in a while and I’ll ask him about fraternal issues, as well as SGA issues. So, yes, I speak with Mr. Tice and Mr. Pruitt quite frequently.

CS: Has running for President affected your Business Manager duties in any way?

MB: No, because I have to finish this job before I can take on the duties of that job. While the campaign is tiring, while it is extremely time-consuming to run a successful campaign, to make sure that the students know what you believe in and what you want to do, I simply cannot leave my duties as Business Manager. I don’t want the next Business Manager to tie up loose ends that I’m leaving. No, I don’t feel that my Presidential candidacy or campaign has affected my work as Business Manager in any way.

CS: You’re running on a ticket. Does it have a name?

MB: The New Deal Ticket. In the past, a lot of administrations have been more focused on the administration of the university, as opposed to the student body. We are an organization, and we operate on a budget that is better than most Student Government Associations on most campuses. There is no reason that we should continue to try and monitor the administration of this university. I feel that they recognize that the students have to be here for them to continue to operate. I feel that we should create an AD HOC committee that focuses on university policy passing through, ensuring the students are protected. And, ensure that this is something the students would want or, whether they want it or not, that they don’t disagree with it. That committee, under my presidency, will ensure that that voice is heard.

CS: Last year, the ticket with Ashley Hicks - the Fix It Ticket - looked like it showed some flaws, in people who running just to get their names together, with Bill [Lewis] and Curtis [Kearns] as an example of that. Is that the case with this ticket? Are you guys united, or is this just a political move?

MB: I know what you mean about the Fix It Ticket. Unfortunately, there were some inner struggles regarding ideas. Fortunately enough, this year, the thing I think our ticket has that I think a lot of tickets in the past hasn’t had is that 1) we challenge each other. We will not let each other make decisions that we feel will hurt the student body or that we may not feel is the best for the student body. We all have something to bring to the table. Like Mr. Pauley and I, we’re both Business Majors, but I’m a management administrative - and maybe marketing, it just depends on how my classes work out - major and he is a finance major. Although we are from the same business realm, we both have different emphasis inside of that. And, I think that’s important to have, so that you can accurately represent people from a broader scope.

CS: That’s everything I have at the moment. Is there anything you’d like to mention?

MB: Ummm… I do want to address posters. Emily Nordman, right now, there’s some debate over her candidacy. We lost the minutes from last semester; all the minutes are gone. We’re currently trying to recover some of them. It’s a very difficult process, we’re tracking down former Secretaries as well. And, there’s a little bit of debate over whether she has the semester experience [required to run for her position]. And, we’re trying to prove that up. Attorney General [Bill] Lewis has set a very high bar for us to meet, but hopefully with working with our advisors, with working with Bill, and working with what few records we do have, we’ll be able to satisfy our burden of proof. And, then when that’s done, we’ll begin printing flyers. We don’t want to print a lot of them, because for every piece of paper we use, we also have to ensure that it’s taken down and recycled, so you’re going to see a lot of black-and-white flyers from us. Just the fact that she’s in question right now, we’re really not sure if we should print the flyers with her face on it, with her ideals on it, with the things she’s ready to fight for, because we don’t know if she’ll be able to run. So, that’s important. So, once we figure out every thing there, we will go into production of posters of everything else.

* * *

For more information on Matt's campaign, check out the Facebook group "Matthew Belcher for SGA President."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ashley Green Q&A

Interview with Ashley Green, candidate for Vice President. Her opponents are Dustin Blankenship and Spencer Stevens.

* * *

Chris Slater: What is your SGA experience?

Ashley Green: My SGA experience? Well, I started out as an organizational representative my freshman year. And then that Spring, I ran for Senator. And, I was a Senator last year. And, currently, I am the Faculty Senate representative.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

AG: Well, originally, I went to an interest meeting for an organization on campus, Circle K. And, they needed a representative for the SGA meetings, so I volunteered to do it. And, then, after I’d gotten a little more involved, I decided that I liked it and I wound up running for Senator.

CS: Why did you decide to run for Vice President?

AG: Well, I feel like that’s one of the positions I’m very well-suited for in the SGA. I’ve chaired a few committees, I’ve sat on all of the committees. I have a lot of ideas for it. I feel like this is where I’m best suited to help students.

CS: What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?

AG: Well, I know one of the things people want to hear about is Homecoming and Spring Fling. So, one of the things that I really want to do is get students more involved, because those are things that we put on for them. I feel like they should be - a lot of the times, Vice Presidential candidates will come in and they will have all these ideas for things they want to bring in for Spring Fling. But, it’s not really what I want to do for it, it’s what the students want to do.

And, like, if I am elected, I want to start a survey over the summer and send it through the list-serve to all the students so that they can go ahead and start voting on things then, so I can see what they really want. I also, really would like to incorporate a day of service into both Homecoming and Spring Fling. I think it’s a good thing to get service organizations involved, to get their names out there. And, it’s kind of something that was inspired by the students wanting to donate money to Haiti this year.

Another thing, is that, the Vice President is in charge of overseeing committees. And, that’s one of the areas that I feel we’ve been struggling in this year. So, I’d really like to make our committees a little bit stronger. Right now, when most people attend committees, it’s the same ones. And, it’s because it’s the ones that meet at 3 o’clock before SGA meetings. So, that’s where all of the attendance is. And, I feel like I’d really like to, um, at the beginning of the semester, have the org. reps and Senators sign up for what committees they want and the chairs find a common meeting time, so the people who want to be there will be there. I feel if you’re more interested in what you’re working on, you’re more likely to get things accomplished.

I’d also like to work with the Publicity chair and our Secretary to advertise our committees better. Whether it’s advertising who the chairs are and when they meet, if we do have set committee members, then who the committee members are. That way, more students who aren’t necessarily involved in SGA and don’t necessarily go to meetings can still voice their concerns to the right people and get their thoughts heard.

CS: What are you going to do if you’re not elected VP?

AG: Well, if I’m not running for VP, I’m also running for Senator. There are exactly the number of Senators running that need positions for, so I will at least have that. I do plan on applying for either Secretary or for my Faculty Senate position again, if I’m not elected. And, I intend to help whoever is elected to Vice President, with whatever they may do; you know, share ideas. Just make sure that no matter who wins, the best things get done for the students.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

AG: Well, I think they’ve both been running very clean campaigns, which I’m very proud of. I know, in the past, there have been some really dirty campaigns. I consider both Dustin and Spencer my friends. I’ve known both of them since the beginning of my freshman year. We all get along and I know they’ll both do a great job if either one of them gets elected.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in? What do you think they can improve?

AG: I think one of the things we have improved upon this year is that Jeff [Yeager, SGA President] has accomplished making the SGA more ethical. Travis McReynolds is the Ethics committee chair and he is finishing up the Code of Ethics that he plans to bring before the Senate, I believe either this Wednesday or next Wednesday. And, I know that was one of the goals that Jeff really wanted to work towards this year. And, through that, they’ve also helped get a lot of the drama out of the SGA. The past couple of years, that I’ve been here at least, it’s been, you always hear the dramatic things, rather than what’s getting accomplished. And, a lot of that has been eliminated.

As, for concerns, like I said, I feel like our committees has been lacking this year. Every week, people attend the exact same committees. I think there are three or four committees that meet right before the SGA meeting. Each have like 10 people go to those. Other committees that meet during the week will have like maybe one or two members there. Sometimes they won’t have any, and every week they’ll have one or two different people, so they really can’t get a whole lot accomplished. And, the committees are the backbone of the SGA, so that’s where we really need to have our strong point.

CS: For those who don’t know, what exactly is the Faculty Senate rep, and what do you do with that?

AG: As Faculty Senate representative, I basically represent the SGA in Faculty Senate meetings. The Faculty Senate meets every other Monday in the State Room. They basically do the exact same thing we do, only more faculty-related issues. They have Senators from different departments; you know, obviously, they have like Secretary, President, all that stuff. So, I basically go and voice the students views to the Faculty Senate. I actually don’t get a vote, but I still get to express what the students thing.

CS: Have you been enjoying that so far?

AG: Yes, I have.

CS: You originally went for Board of Governors representative, against Jenn Smith. When did you decide to switch that up and go for Vice President?

AG: Well, actually, Board of Governors is what I had been planning to run for all year. However, when Josh Lawson put his name on the board, I talked to him about it that day, because his name was actually up there for four different things. I knew that he wasn’t running for Public Defender because he said that he was ready to get to a different position. Public Defender to Attorney General was a really odd switch, so I figured it was either Vice President or Board of Governors. We actually talked about the position a little bit and he really impressed me with what he said. So, I felt like running against him wasn’t the right thing to do, because I know that he would be amazing for the position. And, even though it’s something that I wanted to do all year, when it comes down to it, it’s what’s best for the students. Josh Lawson as Board of Governors rep is best for the students. So, I decided to run for something where I was better suited.

CS: Last year, you were running for Attorney General. And, we had the 3-way Presidential race. And, Bill Lewis - for some reason - decided to drop out of that race and run against you. What were your thoughts on that happening, and why do you think that happened?

AG: Umm… Wow… Ummm… Well, he said that he dropped out because he wanted to support Jeff…

CS: But, he ran [as part of a ticket] with Ashley [Hicks, Jeff's opponent]?

AG: This is true… I can’t really speak for Bill. I’m sure he had his reasons, so... [long pause]

CS: Okay. We’ll leave it at that.

* * *

For more information on Ashley's campaign, check out the Facebook group "Vote ASHLEY GREEN for SGA Vice-President."

Stephen Pavey Q&A

Interview with Stephen Pavey, candidate for SGA Attorney General. His opponents are Chris Matheny and Kelsey Queen.

* * *

Chris Slater: Let’s start off with, what’s your SGA experience?

Stephen Pavey: Well, I was appointed Senator at the beginning of this year by President Yeager. I have served in that capacity all year. Presently, I am pending a Justice position, which that’s not really “experience.” I have served on Ethics committee all year. I’m also presently a member of Judicial Reform committee. And, I did serve on Budgetary committee, this semester, as well as numerous other committees.

CS: What initially attracted you to the SGA?

SP: Well, I’m a very political person. I am a political science major and a pre-law minor, so I mean, my future that I look towards to is in a governmental role. So, this would be a good place to get a start and help students.

CS: Why did you decide to run for Attorney General?

SP: Well, I’ve always wanted to get into the Judicial process and I’ve wanted to be able to fight for the students whenever it comes to things like off-campus jurisdiction or visitation hours in the dorms. I just felt like I could fill that capacity quite well.

CS: What are you going to do if you’re not elected?

SP: Well, like I said, right now, I am a Senator, but I am pending a Justice position. So, depending on whether or not the Senate approves me as a Justice, I will continue on with the SGA in the capacity and fighting for the students.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

SP: I believe that they are running fair campaigns. I have personally talked to Chris and Kelsey, and they have both been very mature and respectful about it. And, I believe that they both are doing a very good job.

CS: What are some areas you think the SGA’s doing well in and what do you think they can improve?

SP: Well, unlike what The Concordian says about our transparency, I believe we are being very transparent. I believe that there are a few things that need to be dealt with. But, whenever it comes to passing a Code of Ethics or a lot of other things, whenever it comes to Housing committee and what they’re doing, fighting for open visitation on Thursday night in Towers, I believe we are doing a lot of good things.

CS: How do you respond to critics who say you may have a lack of experience in the SGA?

SP: Well, I would have to say with a lack of experience, I do have a desire and a will to do it. And, I believe that I can fulfill the job’s duties.

CS: I believe, on Facebook, in a note, Jeff endorsed you for the Attorney General’s spot. Is that correct?

SP: Yes.

CS: Okay. How does that feel to have the President’s support?

SP: I felt that, you know, I am very happy that he holds the faith in me to do this job. It just made me feel a lot better that I do have his support.

CS: Do you have a pick for President yet? Do you know who you’d like to see?

SP: Well, all three candidates, they are pretty good. I’m leaning between Korey Hummer and Matt Belcher.

CS: Just, maybe to let people get to know you a little better, you do some Civil War reenacting. What exactly is that, and how did you get into that?

SP: Well, my ancestors did serve in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. I have always had a love of history. I am also a double major in history, so that spawns off of that. But, basically what we do, is we dress up in our full uniforms - everything is in wool, cotton, just what they wore. Everything is reproduced down to a T - what they had. Basically, we just get out there and reenact old battles of the Civil War, such as Gettysburg, Spotsylvania; local battles such as Hurricane or Jeffersonville.

CS: How many people do that? Like, how many people gather at one point?

SP: I’ve been to events as small as 100 and as big as 15,000.

CS: Oh, wow.

SP: Gettysburg, in 2008, was 13,000-strong, and back in ’98 when they had it, there was 35,000.

CS: That looks like everything I have. Is there anything I haven’t brought up that you think people need to know about?

SP: I would just like to say, no matter if you vote for me or not, get out there and vote. It’s one of our civic duties. And, we do hold a special place in the world to be able to do that. And, no matter if you vote for me or not, just get out there and vote. Listen to all the candidates and see what they have to offer.

* * *

For more information, check out the Facebook group "Vote Stephen Pavey for Attorney General."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Grace Hurney Q&A

Interview with Grace Hurney, candidate for SGA Public Defender. She is running unopposed.

Note: Interviews with Kelsey Queen, Adam Pauley, Grace Hurney, and Spencer Stevens were conducted at the same time. Part of Matt Belcher's interview was also conducted at this time.

* * *

Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Grace Hurney: I was appointed Freshman Senator in the fall of 2008, appointed justice in the spring of 2009, and I have served in the capacity of justice until this spring.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

GH: Being a freshman, and seeing the glitz and glamour of a somewhat larger institution, as opposed to a small high school. I applied, you know, wanted to make a difference. I was initially attracted to Justice, but they didn’t really put freshmen on as justices, which is probably a good call. But, I've always been very supportive of the idea Student Government, plus I'm a political science major, so it kind of fits.

CS: Why did you decide to run for your position?

GH: I've always admired the position of Public Defender. Just growing up in my household, my parents are defense attorneys, so my whole life has always been "fight the man" at this point, and I like the idea of representing the students, giving everyone a fair shot at say, a write-up where you really didn't - there are situations where things can get a little out of hand and we're not always able to take the time to sit and understand them and I'd like to make sure we give the students a voice. Especially, in the judicial process, because I don't believe it's well explained to everybody. Because, if you ask somebody the process, they'll be like, "I don’t know. You get an envelope, you turn it back in." You have options, and you have your rights. And, I want to defend the rights.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

GH: I'll go ahead and speak on the judicial aspect, as I've been out of the legislature for quite some time. I believe right now, we're embarking on a really good path with the judiciary and we've instituted community service instead of the traditional probations. Like, there used to be social probation or full probation. And, the idea would be if you violated it, a sort-of published rule or regulation, you could get, let's say, a week of social probation, when means you go here, here, here, and here. Library, cafe, your dorm, you can't go anywhere else. But, the thing is, who tracks that? Actually, no one.

So, at this point, we instituted community service, which is being monitored by the Prime Justice, which 1) is more rehabilitation, which is what we want to promote. More rehabilitation, instead of punishment. We don't want to say, "Well, you went out the wrong door, let's give you two weeks of full probation. 1) Full probation doesn't really do anything. And, then it looks on their record and when they apply for graduate school, it goes, "Oh, look at them, they had two weeks of full probation, whatever that may be."

Instead, we can give them community service and we can have it benefit the community, benefit the campus. Eco Club, pick up the recycling. You know what, you may find out you like Eco Club. Join a club, help the campus. Other than that, I think the community service initiative is great. I can't really say anything negative about the judiciary, other than we'll have a whole lot of new Justices in the fall.

* * *

For more information on Grace's campaign, visit the Facebook group, "THE NEW DEAL TICKET."

Adam Pauley Q&A

Interview with Adam Pauley, candidate for SGA Business Manager. He is running unopposed.

Note: Interviews with Kelsey Queen, Adam Pauley, Grace Hurney, and Spencer Stevens were conducted at the same time. Part of Matt Belcher's interview was also conducted at this time.

* * *

Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Adam Pauley: I was a Freshman Senator the fall and spring semester, both. I chaired Publications, am the current chair of Housing, and I have served on Budgetary twice.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

AP: I'm just interested in being involved, making different things happen.

CS: Why did you decide to run for your position?

AP: After I served on Budgetary, I really became interested in how our SGA really works, on like the finance side of it. I’ve always understood business, and that’s what draws me to the position of Business Manager. I feel that the Business Manager is the best suit for me because I have an understanding for it and I want to comprehend what there is involved. So, that’s the reason I’m running for Business Manager. I feel it best suits me, so I can better serve the students.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

AP: I think the Budgetary process right now in SGA is doing pretty well. Through both sessions, they allocated more funding for students, clubs, and organizations. As well as, officer pay was reevaluated, so I think that was really a bonus that we’ve had this year.

Something that I think the Senate lacks is a feeling of a cooperation. You know, we have executives and they're willing to target each other in The Concordian, week after week, but they prove nothing to the students, other than between themselves. And, I think when you have a lack of communication, you're not serving the student body. You’re not doing what you're supposed to be doing. Rather, you're picking fights with someone else and we're suffering. The student body suffers.

So, I think that communication and actually fighting for the students is what needs to be done, instead of fighting each other. It works a lot better whenever people can compromise and come together and get things done and changed, rather than just constantly put up a wall and just fight it out. Nothing gets done.

CS: Is there anything you'd like to add?

AP: As Business Manager, I'm really focused on the money we receive from students, because every student that comes to Concord University pays a fee. And we need to evaluate how we do our budgetary process so that we get our money to affect all students. That's why I think we need to works towards spending that money towards projects, also clubs and organizations, so that everyone on campus is affected. If I'm going to pay into something, I want to see what I'm getting. And, I think the rest of the student body feels that way.

* * *

For more information, check out Adam's Facebook group - "Your Money, Your Vote: Vote Adam Pauley for Business Manager."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spencer Stevens Q&A

Interview with Spencer Stevens, candidate for SGA Vice President. His opponents are Dustin Blankenship and Ashley Green.

Note: Interviews with Kelsey Queen, Adam Pauley, Grace Hurney, and Spencer Stevens were conducted at the same time. Part of Matt Belcher's interview was also conducted at this time.

* * *

Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Spencer Stevens: I have been an org. rep. for about a year, and I have set on six different committees through that period of time.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

SS: I’m a political science major, so that's my initial interest in it. When I was in high school, I was one of our founders for our Student Government, then I came here and I was just like, "This is really interesting." I came in as a political science major, so one of the things that the ambassador that showed me around told me was how Concord’s Student Government operated at a much higher level than other Student Governments. That just really got me, right there.

CS: Why did you decide to run for your position?

SS: I knew it was time for me to step up from just being an organization rep in SGA because I believe there are some things that could be done and I just felt like Vice President is the most tailored position for me, as far as organizing and just, scheduling, things of that sort. I'm just very good at that and I feel like I can be the best help in this position for the students at Concord.

CS: What will you do if you're not elected? Have you made those plans yet?

SS: I will definitely find another way to continue to be involved in SGA, whether it is applying for an appointed position or just continuing to be an org. rep. or a Senator of some sort. I do have plans to just continue on and to help as much as possible, with another position, as I can.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

SS: I believe that my opponents and I share a lot of similar views on a lot of different ways to run the office. However, I don't feel as if they are as in-touch with the student body as I am. But, as far as like platforms, we all basically have the same thing. It's just who's actually going to be a "do-er." That’s where we separate.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

SS: I agree with Adam, with a lot of things he said about people try to bring a lot of their personal issues into SGA, and I feel like that is a weakness. But, I feel like SGA as a whole, like I feel is moving in a good direction. It will require cooperation amongst the body, the Executive Board, to move forward in a positive direction at a constant speed, instead of being stalled out by people, with personal problems with either.

* * *

For more information, check out "Vote Spencer Stevens for Vice President of your SGA."

Kelsey Queen Q&A

Interview with Kelsey Queen, candidate for SGA Attorney General. Her opponents are Chris Matheny and Stephen Pavey.

Note: Interviews with Kelsey Queen, Adam Pauley, Grace Hurney,  and Spencer Stevens were conducted at the same time. Part of Matt Belcher's interview was also conducted at this time.

* * *

Chris Slater: What’s your SGA experience?

Kelsey Queen: I was the Alpha Sigma Alpha organizational rep in the spring of 2009, the Phi Alpha Delta rep in fall 2009, and also served on the Budgetary committee and Homecoming committee.

CS: What attracted you to the SGA?

KQ: I am a political science major, and a pre-law minor, so my career goals were really governmental oriented, so I just really like to be a part of different organizations like that. That’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up.

CS: Why did you decide to run for your position?

KQ: I’m running for Attorney General because of my experience with different prosecution styles in mock trial and I believe that an organization has to be run by different rules, but at the same time you can’t use a cookie-cutter style that just gives the same punishment for each student, as situations do change. I think that the courts should be run as more of an education and rehabilitation process, instead of just always giving same students the same punishments and just kicking them to the curb. I would like to run for things like that because I believe in rules, but at the same time have compassion for students

CS: What will you do if you’re not elected? Have you made those plans yet?

KQ: If I don’t get elected, I plan on continually being involved with SGA, as well as offering my opinions to the, [winner,] either [Chris] Matheny or [Stephen] Pavey, either one. I’ll still offer my opinion, because I feel that I bring something different to the table. Different opinions are nice.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

KQ: Like Spencer, I agree that me and my opponents have a lot of the same platform ideas, but at the same time, I believe that both of them are already set in their ways about how the SGA is run, where I’m kind of newer to the whole Executive Board. I have experience in SGA, but I’m open to the ideas of the students, not just the way that SGA has been run in the past. So, I think that that's what sets me aside from everyone else. I am open to student ideas instead of just "the previous person did this, and that's how it should be done."

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

KQ: Just like Spencer and Adam, I do see a lot of cattiness and - almost - immaturity between the members of SGA and from somebody who isn’t already on the Executive Board, looking at the different conversations they have, it seems like they’re more concerned with proving to them or their opponents or someone else that they can do better, rather than listening to the students and proving to the students that they’re going to accomplish something for them. I do think SGA is doing a good thing listening, as far as Housing rules go. Getting extended hours for students, because I know next semester, we’re going to have 24-hour visitation on Thursdays and that’s something a lot of students wanted. But, I also think that we should begin to push for different things with Housing, for different things as far as it’s completely ridiculous that a 21-year-old can get in trouble for drinking in their room if their roommate isn’t 21. I think that we should continue to push for students rights, because if you are 21, you are legally permitted to drink, so I don’t think that just because your roommate isn’t that you should be allowed to. So, I think we should continue to push for the policies that the students really want, instead of fighting amongst each other.

CS: Is there anything you'd like to add?

KQ: I would like to say that a lot of people underestimate my abilities to actually get things done. I feel like a lot of people who may not know me, who haven’t been around me, who don’t know my GPA and my accomplishments in the government, in different organizations, would probably underestimate my abilities. And, I just would like for everyone to realize that I am very qualified for this position and I have experience in all realms that is needed for the Attorney General position. What does set me aside is the fact that I am not set in my ways. I am willing to listen to the students and do what is best for the majority of the students, not what is best for me.

* * *

For more information, check out the Facebook group, "Vote Kelsey Jo Queen for SGA Attorney General."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Korey Hummer Q&A

Korey Hummer is running for SGA President. His opponents are Matt Belcher and Rob Elsaid.

* * *

Chris Slater: Let's start off with a little background. What's your SGA experience

Korey Hummer: Well, I was first created a Justice in Jessica Cook's last meeting in SGA. I've been a Justice for three years now, sat on many cases, helped out a lot in judicial affairs. Been working for the students for the past three years, through the judicial system, as an unpaid position.

CS: How many Senate meetings have you attended? Do you have any experience there?

KH: I've sat in a handful. Most of my meetings were spent actually in the judicial system, because those meetings range anywhere from half an hour, to - I've sat through 3, 4 hour meetings.

CS: What initially attracted you to the SGA?

KH: Umm, I've always been interested in government, and this is the closest form to a government that we can have in school. Going through high school and middle school, civics class was very interesting to me. So, I like the workings of it. It’s just intriguing.

CS: Why did you decide to run for SGA President?

KH: It had been in the back of my head for a little while. And, then, I saw the administration that was in here - nothing against them, or anything like that, I mean, they had the closed session. I heard students talking about the closed session, where they shut all the doors and kicked all the students out. I do not agree with that at all. I feel that the SGA should be open to the students and I promise, if elected, I promise as President, to keep the doors open at all times. No more closed sessions, kicking students out of meetings.

CS: What do you plan to accomplish if you're elected?

KH: Well, like I just said, open SGA up more to the students. It's a student organization, it should be for the students. I also want to get a more diverse group of people in SGA as well. I don’t know if you'd agree with this or not, but personally, I keep seeing the same faces and same names coming about time and again. That's another reason I decided to run, too, I was tired of the same faces, same names. I wanted something new in there. I also want to strive to create a "greener" campus. I've been - I've talked to Gary Thompson once, I'm trying to schedule a meeting with him now. I want to try and sit down and talk about ideas together. I like everything Gary's been doing, I’ve been supporting him 100 percent in everything he's been doing. But, we want to sit down and get some more ideas, create more ideas.

CS: What are you going to do if you're not elected?

KH: If not elected, I'm still going to push forward with the ideas that I have. I still believe in them: a greener campus, getting new faces in SGA. I'm still going to push forward with the things, if you will look on my Facebook page, I'm still going to press forward with it.

CS: Will you still be a Justice, if not elected?

KH: Yes. I will stay in Student Government. I will not go "anti Student Government" and try to disband it, or anything, if not elected.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

KH: I think they've run very good campaigns. I have nothing negative to say about them at all. Personally, I know Matthew Belcher and Robert Elsaid and I like both of them, very respectable people. And, I think, I've been very impressed with their campaigns.

CS: You and Matt are both [members of Tau Kappa Epsilon]. Are you running a friendly campaign, or is there a kind of "divide" among the TKE brothers?

KH: Yeah, it's a friendly campaign. I'm trying to keep it as friendly as possible. There's always that little thing that might come about, and when it comes about, we do talk to each other. So, we - I'm trying to keep it friendly. You know, with campaigning, it's very difficult.

CS: In your opinion, what are areas you believe the SGA is doing very well, and where do you think they can improve?

KH: Like I said, I think they can improve in opening the door more to students. I think, right now, very well, they are listening to students. But, I'd like to improve more. I believe they are accomplishing for students, but once again, I'd like to improve that with fresh ideas, fresh things to come in.

CS: Are you running with a ticket?

KH: We're not considering ourselves a ticket, but we are supporting each other. We’re not calling ourselves a ticket, because we don’t understand how you can run with a ticket when not everybody can have the same ideas. So, we disagree from time-to-time, so we decided not to become a ticket because we have different ideas. We support each other in certain areas, but disagree in certain areas as well.

CS: That's you and [Chris] Matheny, right?

KH: Also, along with [Josh] Lawson and Dustin Blankenship, we also support each other.

CS: How do you respond to critics, who say you don’t have a lot of SGA Senate experience?

KH: Well, I will agree with them. I have my experience in the Judicial system. But, that's not a bad thing. I see it as, I'm a new face, new ideas, different experiences from what the other two candidates are offering. I think that's a positive thing to focus on. I see their ideas and I commend their ideas, but I have my ideas that are different. And, I'm a different face. I think this face could change SGA and make it more open to the students.

CS: What role is Curtis Kearns playing in your campaign?

KH: Curtis Kearns is a friend. If I have a question, I'll go and ask him. I know the rumors that Curtis is running my campaign. That is a complete lie. He is not running my campaign. I am running my campaign. If I have any questions or anything like that, I will go ahead and ask him. Along with Matheny, or Josh Lawson, or Dustin Blankenship. Curtis is barely involved in my campaign.

CS: Would have you still have run for President if Curtis were still running?

KH: I was actually already going to run for President. I already had the paperwork filled out. And, I knew Matthew was running for President. He already had his stuff turned in, his name on the board. And, I had the paperwork filled out. And the first person I told was Matthew Belcher, that I was going to run for SGA President. I showed him the paperwork and everything like that. And, I decided to wait until the last minute to turn it in. It just so coincided that that was when Curtis removed himself from the SGA.

CS: There have been a couple other TKEs that have held high positions in the SGA, like DJ Boland, Jared Tice, Keith Pruitt. Have you talked to any of those guys?

KH: I have not. Keith is a good friend of mine, but we have not talked along the lines of SGA.

CS: This is a criticism that I've heard some people say, you're talking about one of your campaign issues is to go green, but at the moment you’re the only Presidential candidate with flyers up, which could potentially waste paper. Your thoughts on that?

KH: My thoughts on it, if you'll notice, every single flyer - and there's very minimal amount of flyers. You know, in past times, you would look in the stairwell, right here by the SGA Office, and it's wall-papered down with flyers. And, also if you'll notice, all the flyers are printed on black-and-white ink. That’s a lot easier to recycle than using color.

CS: You plan to recycle all of these?

KH: Yes, plan to recycle all of these. One, that's one of the issues that Gary Thompson and I have talked about is getting more recycling bins around campus. He's currently working on that as well. And, I think, I can help him along those lines.

CS: What are your thoughts about - I know in the past, some issues have come up the last time Rob Elsaid ran, some negative campaigning was brought up, using instances from his past. I've heard some people saying that maybe that would come up this time. What are your thoughts about negative campaigning in general?

KH: I am completely against negative campaigning. Once again, I told you, when I filled out the forms, the first person I showed was Matthew Belcher. And, I made it clear to him that I do not want to run a smear campaign, a negative campaign, in any means or aspects. I respect both my opponents fully. They're both great people, I do not want to lose them as friends at all. There are no negative aspects at all; I am completely against it. I feel like the best candidate should win based on their ideals and values, not because "Hey, look what he did, back 5 or 6 years ago."

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Check out Korey's Facebook group "Korey Hummer for SGA President" for more information on his campaign.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dustin Blankenship Q&A

Dustin Blankenship is running for Vice President. His opponents are Ashley Green and Spencer Stevens. Interview is below.

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Chris Slater: Let’s start off with a little background: What’s your SGA experience?

Dustin Blankenship: Okay, well, I’ve served as a Senator for almost two years, my freshman and sophomore year before the time that I stepped down to serve as the organizational representative for CRU because they were about to lose their voting rights and I’m a member. Beyond that, I was a Publicity chair. I served on Budgetary, CUSAC, Housing committee. I was also part of the Tuition and Fees rally planning committee. I’ve served on Higher Ed. Day, and a plethora of other things. So, I’ve done a lot with SGA, minus the brief time off.

CS: What initially attracted you to the SGA?

DB: I would say it was Jessica Cook, actually. She was one of the first people I met at Concord; she was actually my orientation leader. And, she happened to be the SGA President at the time. And, she told me, what the SGA was doing and she told me, "You should come for an interview for the Freshman Senator position," and from the moment I walked into the room I felt like, you know, the group was actually doing something good for the students, and it was something I wanted to be a part of.

CS: Why did you decide to run for VP?

DB: Honestly, I mean, well, 1) I wouldn’t be running for it if I didn’t think I was the best candidate for the job. And, I wouldn’t be running for it if I didn’t want it. People will say, "Well, maybe I - this or that," I’ll be blunt - I want the job and I think I’m the best candidate for it. But, I also have other experiences planning things like "Spring Fling" for other organizations. I was the West Virginia Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Alumni Association, I was a member of their board, I guess my freshman year and senior year of high school, and I helped plan their Spring Fling.

On top of that, I want to beckon back to the "Devon Stewart-style" leadership in the Vice President and I feel that I can be a great administrator of committees, which is a major part of the job of a Vice President. I feel like we put too much focus on the activities portion of the job and not enough focus on really organizing committees so that we can get things done, rather than have a couple of really fun activities but then nothing get accomplished for the students.

CS: What do you plan to accomplish if you’re elected?

DB: Well, you know, like I said, most people have their like 70-point list things that they want to accomplish. I have 10 main things that I want to do. One, I do want to give the best Homecoming and Spring Fling possible. I mean, that’s a given. Some of the things I’d like to do with that include give a "laser karaoke" event before the dance, like two hours we do laser karaoke. There’s a very good company in the state of West Virginia that works with Sandals cruise line and they actually give you a CD copy of your karaoke performance after you’re done. I’d also like to bring back the "free-fall jump" for Spring Fling, because people really seemed to like that.

But, I mean, beyond that, I’d also like to add a service element to Homecoming activities. For example, maybe a project like planting flowers, for the entire campus to get involved with. Not a mandatory thing, but you know, and SGA-sponsored event. Beyond that, I would like to retain the Homecoming alcohol policy. That’s not a given for students. That’s something that we have to fight for every year and that I will fight for. Also, I want Spring Fling and Homecoming to include actual events and not just giveaways. I think that we waste so much money on buying 100 footballs for $800 and then, there’s $800 we could have spent on an activity people could have participated in.

I think, beyond that, I want to work with The Concordian to bring back a reporter for the SGA, or to work with them in some way so that there is an accurate report of someone who is at the SGA meetings every week. But, beyond that, I also want to work with the Concord television station, to have them report on SGA and potentially post that to YouTube so that more students can become familiarized with the SGA process. And, then, like everyone else literally, I want to work with Green Sustainability.

Bring more activities to campus, improve the game room, the idea of a commuter/veteran lounge, and the student/fan section at games, I think, is a great idea. But, the things that I can guarantee, is that I will do the best job I can with Homecoming and will strive to keep everyone hardworking, and honest, and ethical.

CS: What will you do if you’re not elected?

DB: If I’m not elected, hopefully I will get a Senator-ship because I still want to work with the SGA this upcoming year, no matter what. If not, then I’m going to be an organizational rep. I really just feel like I can devote a lot of my time to helping with the SGA. It’ll be my senior year, I’ll only lack six actual credit hours to graduate, but I’m going to continue through the spring semester. I’ll have a lot more free time than I have in the past.

CS: What are your thoughts on your opponents campaigns?

DB: I think both Ashley and Spencer are very good people. I love Ashley very dearly. She’s one of the first people I met at Concord. We both served as Senators together, freshman year. Spencer, I know through being members of fraternities. He’s a Pi Kap, I’m a Phi Sig. I think they’re both great people, but I feel like of the three of us, I’m the most - I will bring the most dedication to the job. Like I said, I love them dearly, but I am going to do everything I can - not to say that they won’t do a good job, but that I will do a better job. At this point, they haven’t done a whole lot of campaigning, so I’m happy they’ve kept it good and clean. I hope it stays that way.

CS: What are some areas the SGA is doing well in, and what do you think they can improve?

DB: I think, one thing, right now that is a great improvement upon past years is the ethics legislation that’s being pushed through right now. I think that was very important and that’s one of the few things that I can say past administrations have said they were going to do, and have actually worked on accomplishing, and looks like it will be accomplished.

I think, areas to improve, though, there are a lot. And, the big thing, that I know I beckon back to this a lot, is the committee administration. I think that there are, really, three major things that I think can help with that. And, that’s choosing competent chairs that will actually do their jobs. Doing my job, as I should, which means working with all the committees to make real progress. And, a big thing, is working with attendance. Every organization - well, I won’t say every organization, but a lot of organizations have issues with not knowing their representative is missing meetings. And, then all of a sudden, they lost their voting rights and they can’t get their budgets, and they’re like, you know, “What are we gonna do?” One thing I’d like to do is bring in a way to report to the organization after one and a half absences, because you’re allowed three, to be like, “Your person has missed a combination of committees or whatever and is close to losing voting rights. You could lose your voting rights if they miss this much more.” Instead of announcing it in the SGA. Because, odds are, if you’re missing a lot of committees, their SGA attendance at legislative meetings is probably not that sterling either. So, I think that’s a couple areas they could improve. But, I think the ethics legislation, I applaud them.

CS: You left the SGA for a while and then decided to come back. Why was that?

DB: The answer to that question is actually two-fold. The first reason, I had a lot of personal problems at home. As well, as some health problems that, thank God, I’m doing a lot better. But, at that time, it was very overwhelming with being sick, and like I said, having a lot of family problems. But, on top of that, legitimately, the administration and I kept butting heads and with everything that was going on in life, I could not get what needed to be accomplished accomplished. And, I was removed, like, literally, President Prince removed me from my committee chair for no reason. And, you will notice as well, that the things we accomplished all semester of my sophomore year, there was little to nothing accomplished the spring semester after I was removed from that chair. And, I felt like at that point, the best thing I could do was alert the students as to what was going on. Which, is what I did with the [Concordian] articles I wrote. You know, "Your President's doing these things," and you'll notice that right after that was when impeachment proceedings were heard for President Prince as well. I think, for me, it was the right decision to do that because more so, my health, but also to be honest and open with the student body.

CS: You mentioned you were in a fraternity earlier. You were in there with a couple famous, in terms of SGA, people: Rocky Seay and the Brewsters. What have you learned from them, regarding the SGA?

DB: Not a whole lot [laughs]. When I came into the fraternity, it was my freshman year, around the same time that I started with SGA. But, at that point, they were not as - say - influential. It was kind of the downswing, obviously, the second candidacy of Rocky came that spring semester. I appreciate the help that they attempted to give me, but I’m very much my own person. I’m not very political. I think that that’s easily recognizable. So, when somebody tells me you need to do this, this, this, this, this, or that, to get elected, I’m like, if you’re going to elect me, it’s because you like my ideas, not because I manipulate or do anything wrong. Not to say that that’s what they would say to do, but just in general, I’m not a politician. And, if that keeps me from getting elected, then I’m sorry. I’m just going to be real.

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After the interview, Dustin asked me to remind everybody that if you have questions for him, you can check out his group on Facebook "Dustin Blankenship for CU SGA VICE PRESIDENT."