WKU Herald SGA Town Hall 2020

WKU’s Student Government Association participated in a town hall debate in the Downing Student Union auditorium on the night of Sept. 24. Executive Vice President Garrett Edmonds is running for Student Body President against MJ Mayo, senator for Potter College of Arts and Letters. Abbey Norvell is running for Administrative Vice President alongside Edmonds.

At the SGA Town Hall on Sept. 24, the two presidential candidates shared their platforms and answered questions about pressing topics for students.

The two tickets are Garrett Edmonds, who is the current executive vice president of the SGA, and Abbey Norvell, who is the current director of academic and student affairs of SGA, against MJ Mayo, who is the current senator for Potter College of Arts and Letters.

The topics discussed included diversity, the on-campus quarantine dorm, and the role of SGA. Some questions that were submitted through Twitter during the SGA Town Hall weren’t able to be answered. 

To ensure that all student issues are addressed, the candidates responded to these questions after the debate. 

Will Western be a free speech University with the exchange of ideas from all viewpoints, or will it succumb to the cancel culture so prevalent in today’s society?

Edmonds:

“As a campus of so many different individuals with diverse backgrounds it’s vital we ensure all people feel valued and heard. However, we must ensure this is done in a respectful manner that reflects our creed here at WKU.”

Mayo:

“Of course I believe that this university should be a space for a free exchange of ideas from all viewpoints, but I also believe that the rhetoric of anti-cancel culture works to undermine the legitimate experiences of our minority students.” 

Because SGA scholarships for study abroad will go unused this year, how would you like to see that money spent instead?

Edmonds:

“If we are going to spend this money allocated by students we are going to ensure it’s going to places where it is needed to benefit students.”

Mayo:

“So long as Western Kentucky University is not offering study abroad opportunities, SGA will reallocate those funds to expand the first generation scholarship, the ISEC book scholarship, the summer term scholarships, and the scholar development grant which is severely underutilized.” 

Question directed to Edmonds: As serving two years as EVP, how will this help you right now with all of the issues that are going on campus and in our community?

“The one thing I’ve learned for sure after two years as EVP there is always something new to learn, and we cannot wait for an individual to fully understand the complexities of the role in such a short amount of time.” 

Question directed to Edmonds: You spoke about using the student all email to help inform students of important information on campus. Can you elaborate about what information is not currently transparent and needs to be communicated in a better fashion?

“We must ensure students are kept in the loop about policy changes, which directly impact their lives. This can be communicating scholarship developments, academic developments, or tuition changes.” 

Question directed to Mayo: You mentioned meal plan dollars - what is your take about them being raised to $300?

“... I strongly disagree with the price of this plan, which students can rarely opt out of, but the flex plan price has been on a 20-year contract that was renewed in 2017, when I was graduating high school… This contract does not end until the 2036-2037 academic year, when the fee will have been $350 since the 2026-2027 academic year.” 

Question directed to Mayo: Where will those funds [for more PPE] be reallocated from and will there be any consequences of those funds being reallocated?

“... legislative discretionary if senators agree this is a good use of their budget, executive discretionary, the special projects fund, or even my own stipend. There will be no consequences of those funds being reallocated as long as the budget is approved by the senate.” 

The election will be held Monday and Tuesday, the 28th and 29th, through TopNet.

Jacob Latimer can be reached at jacob.latimer745@topper.wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.

Jacob Latimer is a general assignment assignment reporter for the College Heights Herald. He is a Broadcasting major, and is minoring in Photojournalism and Political Science.