SGA Election: URTU

URTU

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 URTU Ticket

URTU introduced an interactive form on its website that allows students to directly contribute to the ticket’s platform.

The platform itself consists of five themes: academic success, accessibility, civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, and student organization support, with multiple initiatives within each theme.

To their ticket, an important initiative is combating food insecurity on campus.

Through this initiative, URTU would create a meal donation program to allow students to donate extra meals at the end of the week, and would expand TU Urban Farm and other community gardens.

URTU also hopes to improve connection between administration and students in every area of student life, from parking to diversity issues.

“We feel there has been a disconnect between what the students want and what administration does,” Chambers said. “We’re hoping that we can sort of be the bridge for that. Obviously, that’s what SGA is for, but we’re really hoping to make that change.”

In addition, the URTU ticket has prioritized improving the connection between SGA and student organizations.

Part of this priority will include developing an SGA collaboration fund, which will allow student groups to host events using SGA funding and volunteers.

“I think that’s personally important because I don’t think SGA has necessarily been too collaborative with other groups in the past,” Hailu said. “I think we need to make that connection better.”

The URTU candidates emphasized that, should they win, they will work to support and enhance the efforts of other student leaders making an impact on campus and in the community.

According to Mileo, the interactive platform showed URTU what students want from the new SGA administration.

Many of the priorities  on their platform involve initiatives that have already been introduced, such as the #NotAtTU campaign, which members of the URTU ticket have spent time working on, according to Chambers.

“We are aware that the other ticket could not possibly have the connections in some of the areas we do, because of knowing who’s been working on these projects,” Chambers said.

Read about the Legacy ticket here.

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