The Candidates Speak: Rachel Gross
The Tartan has given space for each candidate running for Student Body President this year to respond to the following questions: What are the three most important changes that you have seen occur at Carnegie Mellon in your time here as students? What was the role of the Student Body President at the time and what would you have done differently had you been the Student Body President then?
Since the fall of 2002, many important changes have occurred on campus. Some of these changes were a direct result of the Student Body President at that time, while others took place independently of the executive branch. The most beneficial developments have been those that worked towards strengthening students? rights and securing student safety.
Through six semesters at Carnegie Mellon, I have witnessed the installation of extra lighting and the blue light security phones as well as the implementation of the escort/shuttle service. These security advancements have helped to improve the safety of all Carnegie Mellon community members, especially during evening hours. The student government should make student safety a priority, as it is important for the student body to feel secure anywhere on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
On March 28, 2004, the Freedom of Information Policy (FOIP) was passed by the Undergraduate Student Senate and took the first step towards breaking the communication barriers. The first time the FOIP was brought before Senate during the 2002?2003 academic year, it was vetoed by the Student Body President. Had I been in office, I would not have vetoed the FOIP, as I believe all students have the right to know how their student activities fee is being used. This example is a clear indication of the communication barrier that exists on this campus ? there needs to be a functional online location where all information pertinent to students is available and user-friendly. The average student does not know that the FOIP exists, and it is the responsibility of student government to make certain that students are aware of these policies, and more importantly, their rights.
Of all of the changes that have occurred on campus, the most important, but least recognized, change has been the attempt of the student government to open its doors to the general student body. Past presidents have tried to utilize features such as office hours and firstname.lastname@example.org, but there is still a lack of communication that exists. The student body should have more input regarding the concerns and goals of our community; we need to communicate in order to work towards fixing the stagnant problems which have too long existed.
The confounding factors slowing progress are the lack of communication and debate on and around campus. Candidates run on reform all the time, yet they are often part of the culture that made change necessary in the first place. To spur involvement through the creation of a culture that produces well-debated results is a top priority for Ben and me. The issues, as well as a need for transformation, should drive voter turnout. If you really want to see change, become involved ? VOTE!