News Staff Writer
Michael Davis and Kimani Anderson will serve as the Student Government Association president and vice president for the 2018-2019 academic year. Initiatives for their administration, reflected by the candidates themselves and members of the student body, pertain to issues of diversity and inclusion.
Rivaling presidential candidate Lauren Bulla said she is excited to see each candidate who ran in the election accompanied by thoughtful initiatives for SGA.
“I truly am so happy with the way the candidate pool turned out I think there are some really amazing ideas and people coming to light,” Bulla said.
Davis was unavailable for comment regarding the election results.
In a close race between presidential candidates, Davis won by a mere 27 votes, while Anderson won the vice presidential against Dora Tovar election by only eight votes.
Anderson said he views UNC Asheville as a utopia regarding the community’s views, but he also acknowledges where the community needs to progress.
“Sometimes the intentions are not necessarily pure or as pure as they’re intended to be,” Anderson said. “One of the things that I would like to change is how we come off in terms of you know what we want to do and what we plan to do for the school.”
Among candidates — both winning and losing — and members of the student body, a desire for change in the community and through SGA stands as a commonality among most. Tovar said she feels a disconnect between SGA and the student body she would like to see mended.
“I’ve been in SGA for a long time and I’ve noticed that there’s a disconnect between student body and student government,” Tovar said. “I feel that student government needs to reach out to students rather than waiting for students to come to them. We just need to find out what their concerns are rather than trying to play a guessing game of what they are.”
Tovar said branches of the UNCA community such as the administrative area of campus need to be addressed in order to better serve the students.
“We’re supposed to question administration and other things that impede students on our campus and we need to start speaking out against things that upset our students instead of going along with it or kicking it under the carpet,” Tovar said.
Some students voice concerns about issues on campus regarding diversity and inclusion. Jonathan Sinacore, a sophomore psychology student, said he would like to see SGA continue to actively promote these causes.
“I think student diversity is a big thing here at UNCA that we focus on so I think that student government can definitely bring back diversity to UNCA,” Sinacore said.
While some candidates and students see an active need for change regarding student engagement, sitting President Tim Hussey disagrees.
“I don’t see a lot of areas that need to be changed. I would definitely like to see a lot of the things we’ve started continue,” Hussey said. “For example, work on the diversity decree and student experience panels. I’d definitely like to see those kind of student centered initiatives and events continue.”
The Student Diversity Decree initiated by 2015-2016 SGA President Maya Newlin continues as an active piece of legislation in SGA. The decree, SSB 015-026, implements diversity and inclusion in all areas of diversity on campus by creating and supporting an inclusive and sustainable community, according to the document.
Anderson plans to continue some aspects of diversity and inclusion in his vice presidency, while focusing on its weaker parts in order to strengthen this initiative.
“I know a lot of people, a lot of organizations, and a lot of schools think about diversity in the sense of race, ethnicity, and creed. I would like to broaden the definition of diversity to not include just those things because I think that’s extremely limited,” Anderson said.
Planning for future initiatives with his senate, Anderson said he intends to increase student outreach, something other candidates and students say need improvement.
“I’d have more events where the opinion of every and all different groups of people are taken into consideration whether that be through surveys or polling because if the role of SGA is to serve the students we need to know exactly what all students want and not just the majority of what students want,” Anderson said.
Hussey said his presidency was positive and feels hopeful for the future administration to have a similar experience in office.
“I’ve had the best time as student body president. It’s been one of the best learning experiences that I have had since being at UNCA and I’m excited that another student will have that same experience,” Hussey said.