Seven presidential and two vice presidential candidates faced off in the Student Government Association Presidential and Vice Presidential debate March 2. This debate informed the UTSA students on each candidates priority issues.
James Rivera spoke about improving the graduation and retention rate of the university; more specifically, Rivera wants to focus on first-generation college students. This goal was amplified through his thoughts on working with the university to promote a better environment for first-generation students.
Brandon Johnson wants to increase the transparency between the student government and the student body by publishing a newsletter and holding town hall meetings. Johnson would focus on budget cuts of different departments. “If their scholarships are taken away, they no longer have the financial means of graduating,” Johnson said when addressing recent budget cuts of the arts department.
Terralyn Wilburn would aim to increase textbook accessibility and affordability, add more copies of textbooks to the course reserves and work towards making access codes “more affordable or free of charge.” Wilburn also would continue to phase out the CAP program because she sees the CAP students as syphoning university funds that could be used for students who intend to stay.
Marcus Thomas spoke about introducing students to the student organizations at UTSA during orientation, giving students the opportunity to become more involved. “It creates the home they need, opportunities for jobs, opportunities for study groups and opportunities for lifelong friends.” Thomas also spoke about improving the opportunity for research and pushing for Tier One.
Joshua Broniszewski’s priority for his administration would be to adjust the “passive teaching going on at the university. This has us relying on rogue learning. I want to focus more on team-based learning styles.” In addition, Broniszewski spoke about furthering the success of students after they graduate by advancing academics and graduate research programs.
Forrest Wilkinson’s top priority would be to boost the sustainability ratings at UTSA through more research by the environmental science department. Wilkinson also emphasized including kosher and vegan food options to the university’s food service. Wilkinson would push for the reinstitution of a green fund which prioritizes sustainability efforts of UTSA.
Jeremy Cash spoke about giving students a stronger voice by connecting students directly with administrators. Cash wants to introduce legislation that will protect the student voice, streamlining student-body-lead change. He would carefully examine the SGA budget, so he could promote the most beneficial fiscal actions for the student body.
Brittany Garcia would focus on the idea of student involvement with the Independent Student Events Board, and by focusing on school unity and pride. Garcia spoke about boosting attendance for athletic events, which, she says, will provide this needed school pride, leading to a huge push for student success in terms of retention and graduation rates.
Candidate Michael Moore plans to put a strong foot forward with clear goals to work with the new president of the university. “From the beginning of the year to the end, we want everyone to know we have made progress.” Moore wants to provide support to minority students at UTSA, as he believes this is the most effective way to improve graduation rates.
Students can watch the debate on the UTSA Student Government Association Facebook page. Voting runs through March 7, and students can submit their vote at https://utsa.collegiatelink.net/electionstep/2?SubmissionId=9624785