The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Candidate debate comes a few days late

Inclement weather postpones elections, prolongs campaigns

Racism, rapists, reading hours, rights and responsibility are all issues that the candidates for senate offices are promising to tackle for SMU students next semester.

Thursday afternoon candidates faced off in a debate in the Hughes-Trigg Commons. Candidates for president, vice president and secretary outlined their platforms and had time to field questions from current president Dustin Odham regarding their desired positions and aspirations in office.

Presidential candidates Michael Dorff, Thomas Kincaid and Blake Norvell were given the chance to ask one question of an opponent.

Presidential hopeful Dorff highlighted his plan for “common sense leadership” in the need for SMU to be welcoming to a diverse group of students, tuition issues and the danger of the 49 registered sex offenders living near the SMU campus. He also mentioned a plan to pass legislation to create a scholarship fund open to all students from the residual fund.

He said he doesn’t believe that Senate is currently doing everything in their power to serve the campus. Plans to use every resource available and to work with the university to achieve positive change were on the top of Dorff’s list when asked how he saw his role as president.

One of Dorff’s main focuses was his commitment to safety.

“We are going to identify threats and protect you,” Dorff said.

Kincaid focused on his commitment to serving the students and his “inspiration” to serve another year. He said he sees the position as a way to make sure the entire community is represented. Out-of-date appropriations standards are something Kincaid hopes to improve next year. Since the role would be a continuation of his service as a senate officer, Kincaid expressed excitement about overseeing the Dedman Center renovation.

By working one-on-one with all senators, he hopes to help the Senate recognize their potential.

“The issues you and I care about are why I want to be your student body president,” Kincaid said.

Norvell described himself as a “student friendly” candidate with realistic platforms including adding reading days to the semester, creating a student bill of rights to ensure fair grading and starting a program to refund student fees if Senate has a surplus at the end of each year. He also proposed that more full scholarships be given for a longer period of time in order to draw students to SMU.

“Let’s tell the administration that this isn’t Southern Millionaire University, but Southern Methodist University,” Norvell said.

The vice presidential hopefuls presented some very different issues as the focus of their term. Kyle Hiemenz sees his role as a way to take some of the pressures off the president, a position he said he is eager to fill. He discussed issues of low spirit, recreational sports funding and increased funding for Meadows School of the Arts. Campus parking was another major concern.

“There are too few parking spaces and too many security problems in those lots,” Hiemenz said.

Lyndsey Hummert, who served as membership committee chairperson previously, cited her love of SMU as her motivation to be vice president. She sees the position as a way to hold student leaders accountable, create a proactive Senate, and tackle campus issues.

Hummert also mentioned campus safety and diversity in admissions as areas that need improvement.

“I think it’s important that we have open lines of communication between the admissions office and the students,” Hummert said.

Secretary candidates Ashley Earnest and Prem Panchall both presented diversity as a large part of their platform.

Earnest sees the secretary position as an opportunity to promote senate interaction with the community and answer questions and concerns about the student code of conduct. She voiced concerns about accessibility to workout facilities during the Dedman Center remodeling. In addition, Earnest presented the idea for a buddy escort program so that any student can get an escort at any time when walking the campus at night.

Panchall said that as a minority, he would add a “global view” to Senate. Overall, he sees the need to encourage retention among the student body. He said he feels this can be done by setting realistic numbers for indexing scholarships and providing additional funding for programs unique to SMU.

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