Alex Fassnacht: Vice President Platform
To you, I pledge to bring back the best of the SMU experience. It means different things to all of us, and it’s why we’re here. Let’s get it back.
Since I arrived at SMU it has been my honor to represent our students’ interests. Over the past two years I’ve experienced some of the best aspects of SMU, and I’ve also experienced some of the worst. I have been in the late-night meetings shaping policy around the administration’s decision to continue classes after spring break in March of 2020. This year, I have Zoomed in from a hotspot to help shape the discussion about make-up days and the University’s response to the snowstorm. I’ve seen Senate function at its best and make decisions regarding Boulevards, finances, and organizations that are so important to campus. My immediate involvement on campus as a Pre-Major Senator has given me the opportunity to make my voice heard regarding important SMU decisions. It has been my pleasure to serve my constituents and it’s the reason I keep campaigning.
I believe passionately in servant leadership, and my ability to serve in the Senate has made me passionate about the experiences of other students. Our campus is home to so many different voices with their own personal experiences as a student. One of my top priorities is building the student experience back to the level it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boulevard is a central aspect of the SMU experience. Game days and the community of Mustangs getting together to celebrate our athletic teams shapes the fall semester. As Vice President, bringing back the Boulevard will be my first and top concern when it comes to our experience.
While social events such as the Boulevard, family weekend, and homecoming are so important to student life, the enrollment process and degree support carries the same weight. I will work to reform specific aspects of the advising system, specifically creating a system where students can learn from others in their major program. As a freshman, the upperclassmen who had taken classes before or knew professors shaped how I built my schedule. I would honestly be lost without them as a resource, and I want that to be available for every student.
At the same time, living in the Commons freshman year helped shape my experience. That’s why I can’t wait to update a few aspects of the more historic dorms. While remodeling entire buildings might not be the most effective, adding universal key card access to doors, such as those in the new Commons would elevate the community living experience. The final aspect of the student experience I want to focus on as Vice President is the vaccination process on campus and the benefit that it will bring to our community. I am dedicated to creating a safe student experience and the first way we can get there is through a smooth and accessible vaccination process.
As a senator, and a student, I have seen the immediate concerns regarding diversity and inclusion on our campus. The inclusivity of our campus is so important and shapes who we are as students. That is why I am dedicated to strengthening the accessibility of both physical and educational aspects of our University. As Vice President, I want to facilitate the presence of minority student voices within the decision-making process. While the administration has responded to diversity and inclusion concerns over the past year, they have also fractured the conversation and created groups to confront diversity issues without directly creating change. I want to create direct avenues for important conversations and changes to be made. While we have a beautiful campus with stunning buildings, many of the more historic buildings do not have functioning, ADA compliant, access. Ensuring our campus is accessible to all students is important to me. I want to create a culture within SMU and Senate where the inclusivity of our campus pushes us to be the best we can be.
Along with a different student experience over the past year, there has been a different campus presence. The safety of our community is so vital for us to have a great student experience. While COVID-19 has taken top concern on our campus, the conversation regarding sexual assault has fallen to the side. Over the past four years Senate has worked with administration and the Health Center to provide a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) at SMU, but these have just been conversations. As Vice President I will ensure that this resource is established at SMU and available to the entire community. Fully equipping the Health Center to receive and cite sexual assault cases will help create a safer community. In the same light, I want to establish an awareness program during the first few weeks of each semester. Ensuring safe spaces and resources, along with physical safety around campus, is necessary during the “Red Zone.” Creating a culture that does not tolerate the presence of sexual assault on campus is vital for a healthy community here at SMU.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our dramatic exit from campus last spring, and the recent snowstorm, it is no question that the response to emergencies needs to be evaluated and changed. The first way to ensure our safety is better communication and transparency in regard to risk management. As Vice President I will work to make sure the chaotic experiences over the past year will not look the same, or be a concern, in the future. Questioning our safety and presence on campus should not be a worry alongside classes and social life.
Being a senator has allowed me to connect with so many areas of the SMU community, but this campaign is not about me. It’s about you. It’s about the entire SMU community. It is about what SMU can be in the future. I want to be your Student Body Vice President because your student experience matters, your safety matters, and the inclusivity of our campus matters.