By: Sarah Rowan, News Editor
After one week of intense campaigning between Student Government Association executive tickets URTU and Legacy, both sides are highly anticipating the elections on May 3 and 4.
In the past week, both the Black Student Union and Latin American Student Organization have endorsed the URTU ticket in the race on their separate Twitter accounts, the first time in Towerlight institutional memory that either group has endorsed an SGA ticket.
URTU vice presidential candidate and current Director of Diversity Outreach Breya Johnson welcomes these endorsements.
“I think that just speaks to the fact that those of us on this ticket really do deliver to the student groups that are endorsing us,” Johnson said. “We have a long history of working with them, and they know us, and they trust us.”
Legacy presidential candidate and current SGA Attorney General Pat Mascio remains confident in his ticket.
“When people say BSU is supporting URTU, that’s assuming that every single person in the Black Student Union thinks the exact same [and] feels the exact same about these issues,” Mascio said. “That’s just not true. I know people in the BSU who are supporting us.”
Towson College Republicans and Towson College Democrats will both endorse the Legacy executive ticket, according to a joint statement released May 2 from College Republicans president-elect Matthew Schwartzman and College Democrats president-elect Ryan Kirby.
“In the spirit of collaboration and good will, the Towson College Republicans and Towson College Democrats wanted to issue out this statement as a way [of] bridging our ideological difference, for a common desire for a unified Towson University,” the statement reads. “Although we come from different backgrounds and beliefs, both organizations wish to see Towson University thrive and prosper as one community.”
Mascio is the former president of the College Democrats.
“I think this endorsement is indicative of exactly what the Legacy ticket hopes to accomplish,” Mascio said in a statement. “We want to bring student together from differing backgrounds and identities so that we can further unite this university and collectively leave our mark on Towson.”
In addition to Johnson, the URTU ticket also includes current SGA Vice President James Mileo for president, BSU Treasurer and former SGA Deputy Solicitor General Makdes Hailu for treasurer and former Director of Diversity Outreach Rishell Chambers for attorney general.
It also includes University Residence Government President Wayne Nichols, who will be appointed chief of staff should the ticket win.
Aside from Mascio, the Legacy ticket includes Director of Health and Wellness Missy Ronan for vice president, Director of Student Organizations Cristiana Saballos for treasurer, Senator Arianna Anderson-Melton for attorney general and Director of Marketing and Communications Helen Grafton, who will be appointed chief of staff should Legacy win.
The tickets have nearly identical platforms based on better connecting with students and organizations, continuing to create a more inclusive campus, improving students’ academic environment and enhancing civic engagement.
But their priorities differ in a few ways, too.
While both URTU and Legacy admit that there will be some give and take, both tickets are confident that their initiatives will be realistic enough to warrant attention from University administration.
“In the past, we’ve been pretty accomplished in working with administration on our initiatives.” Mileo said. “I really don’t see an issue with getting a lot of things done. It might be difficult, but I definitely think that they’ll be responsive to it.”
SGA hosted a candidate debate Monday May 1 between the two tickets.
The debate did not meet The Towerlight’s print deadline; however, this story will be updated online afterwards.
“That’s our last chance to get out there and put our platform up against their platform,” Mascio said. “I’m excited to just talk about these issues and what our vision for Towson is.”
The Legacy Ticket
The Legacy platform also includes five themes with multiple initiatives under each one. The group’s five main themes include empowering student organizations, embracing Baltimore, creating an inclusive campus, transforming Towson and reforming the SGA.
The Legacy candidates emphasized that two of their main priorities include starting a roadmap to make Towson a “powerhouse institution” and SGA reform.
Mascio and Ronan agreed that part of creating a bigger name for Towson is using and improving the resources that already exist on campus in order to increase Towson pride among students.
One of their initiatives is to reform policies that currently heavily restrict on-campus tailgating for athletic events. To Mascio, this change will have to involve a new level of trust from administration toward students.
The Legacy ticket also hopes to reform on-campus parking by introducing parking guidance systems and a tiered parking permit system that will make parking spaces located farther away less expensive than those located directly on main campus.
“What we’re focused on is making reforms within the current system to make parking more accessible to students and overall make it a less painstaking process to even find parking spots,” Mascio said.
Legacy also emphasized an expansion of uptown culture that will improve student safety and student mobility.
“I think that right now, the administration has this connotation of ‘Don’t see uptown, don’t hear uptown, don’t think uptown,’ but students are going uptown, and I think the university administration needs to be more accommodating in terms of student safety,” Ronan said.
Part of this will include both advocacy for a 24/7 weekend shuttle service and an expansion of Its On Us into the uptown area with a program called “Safe Bars.” The program will help bartenders and managers recognize unsafe situations and learn bystander intervention techniques.
In terms of SGA reform, the Legacy candidates hope to dismantle the culture of SGA being “all-powerful” on campus, according to Grafton. One plan will be to decrease material benefits for SGA members, benefits that the Legacy ticket deems as unecessary.
“What we really need to do is bring back the student aspect of student government,” Mascio said. “SGA, while it’s very important, is not the be-all and end-all on this campus.”
Read about the URTU ticket here.