Town hall gives students look at SGA presidential candidate, running mate


Rowan Reid (left) and Ben Childress (right) speak during a SGA Town Hall at Memorial Hall on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Joel Repoley | Staff.

McKenna Horsley

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The Student Government Association held a town hall with candidate for student body president Rowan Reid and running mate Ben Childress in Memorial Hall Tuesday evening.

WRFL’s General Manager Nathan Hewitt moderated the town hall and students in the crowd asked the candidates questions. Topics included Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget cuts, increasing diversity on campus, SGA election reforms, implementing a fall break and UK’s parking.

Reid, an economics and management junior, has been active in SGA since she was a freshman and currently serves as deputy chief of staff for SGA. Childress, an economics and political science sophomore, was elected to freshman senate his first semester and currently serves as senate president.

“I think something that is extremely important to us is reacting to Gov. Bevin’s proposed budget cuts,” Reid said. “We will be lobbying with administrators and faculty alike to make sure that doesn’t happen because that is a cost that will probably be passed down to students.”

During the town hall, Reid said she and Childress would also address ways to promote diversity on campus and in SGA.  Reid proposed to accomplish this by expanding SGA’s Student Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion.

“We would work with them in expanding that (by) kind of having our membership grow and also adding coordinators to help facilitate the task force, so it doesn’t fall solely on the director of diversity and inclusion,” Reid said.

Reid also discussed her proposal to reform the election process in SGA. She said that SGA has actively created a barrier from allowing students to run for offices.

She said many students feel they will not be elected unless they are on an election ticket or in a large student organization.

“We think that Student Government best serves its students when it accurately represents all of the students on campus,” Reid said.

Childress proposed working more closely with university senate, which votes on the academic calendar and classes students can take.

“We have talked about getting fall break finally on the academic calendar,” Childress said. “We have a couple years of data from the All Student Survey, as well as data … on anxiety and depression levels from students here and nationwide.”

On the subject of parking, Reid said she and Childress “will lobby for greater parking.” Reid also will continue the Donations for Citations initiative, which allows students to donate food to Big Blue Pantry to wave their parking tickets.

Reid and Childress will also try to create a “syllabus bank” for students, which will include all classes’ syllabi available for students to preview before registering for classes.

“It might not be immediately mandatory for professors but at least if we provide the option, it will be there for most classes,” Reid said.

Joe Tancula, an English junior, said he finds both Reid and Childress well fit for their positions.

He said the duo seemed to be involved on campus and that they were able to handle the pressures of the positions.

“It’s so obvious that they have everybody’s interests in mind,” Tancula said. “They don’t seem too one-sided or too biased.”

Reid and Childress are running unopposed in their elections. SGA’s election polls open Wednesday at 9 a.m. and close Thursday at 6 p.m.