Ball State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) held the introduction to the tickets, the candidates, Feb. 7 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
The two tickets are “Empower” with Presidential Nominee Skylar Ellis, in SGA’s On-Campus Caucus, and Vice Presidential Nominee Taylor Perry, in SGA’s At-Large Caucus, and “Gassensmith & Lindstrand” with Joseph Gassensmith, current chief of staff, and Monet Lindstrand, current vice president.
Empower has five platform points: transportation, student health and well-being, campus safety, campus beautification and dining services, according to their Instagram page.
Gassensmith & Lindstrand have nine points: commitment to sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, transformative disability awareness, sexual assault awareness, campus and community safety, transportation solutions, student employment, diversity in senate and “Beneficence Swipes,” Lindstrand said via email.
Lindstrand describes “Beneficence Swipes” as “a program that allows students to donate unused/unwanted meal swipes so that they may be used as food vouchers for those in need,” via email.
Gassensmith said the purpose of the swipes is to help with food insecurity.
One of the platform points of Empower is working to improve mental health through the proposed establishment of mental health days.
“Ideally, these would be two days off during the spring semester since in the fall semester our breaks are very spread out, but in the spring semester, they're not,” Ellis said. “I know I'm definitely feeling it right now. But even if that's not possible, we would also be willing to work with just having excused absences specifically for mental health.”
As part of their points, Empower hopes to strengthen connections with Ball State Police Department (UPD) and add a new bus route, a purple loop, which would connect the East Neighborhood to the North Neighborhood.
“And that's a really important issue because there are some students who suffer, or they have trouble accessing the North neighborhood, especially if they live in the East area,” Ellis said.
When it came to campus safety, a platform point both tickets had, both wanted to increase the number of blue lights on-campus.
Gassensmith & Lindstrand plan to add lights along Riverside Avenue (Greek Row), North Neighborhood and the University Apartments.
Empower, a part of their campus safety point, made the claim to have UPD add NARCAN, a counteractive medication for a drug overdose, to their emergency supply. Gassensmith & Lindstrand clarified UPD already has it. The Ball State Daily News followed up with UPD, and they confirmed it.
Gassensmith & Lindstrand, a part of their student employment point, want to increase the allotted hours for students to work per pay period to help with students’ wages
“Right now, the students are capped at 20 hours per pay period,” Gassensmith said.
He said students can work up to 10 hours per week.
However, according to the On-Campus Student Employment handbook, “student employees may work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semester.”
The presidential and vice presidential debates are Feb. 14 and 15, respectively. The debates are set for 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center room 301/302. Voting polls open Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. and polls close Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. online, according to the SGA elections website.
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