By Katherine Yeager | Echo
[box type="info" style="rounded"]According to Student Body President, Nicole Arpin,the election primaries, originally scheduled to occur Wednesday, February 22 have been canceled. The election itself will still occur on Wednesday, March 1.[/box]
Student Body President and Vice President
Nicole Arpin and Adam Wright
For current Student Body President, senior Nicole Arpin, and Vice President, senior Adam Wright, the roles of Student Body President (SBP) and Vice President (VP) are roles of growth and the occasional surprise. In November, Arpin was diagnosed with a concussion from a soccer injury, rendering her unable to work or communicate via phone for an extended period of time. The injury came just as Arpin and Wright began their initiatives for the semester. Arpin lauds Wright and treasurer junior Abram Stamper for standing in until she recovered, as they answered many emails and carried an immense load.
Now, Arpin has returned to fulfilling her role, and as the semester ramps up, Arpin and Wright prepare to institute new initiatives and continue previous initiatives such as hall visits to collect student feedback regarding a variety of issues on campus. Wright hopes to make their role more communicative to inform students about what they've done each week.
In addition to their initiatives, Arpin and Wright led the upcoming Student Body elections and will begin training the next SBP and VP once they are elected. This year, Arpin plans to set up voting booths for the primaries nextWednesday, Feb. 22.
After the next SBP and VP are elected, their first roles will include hiring an executive cabinet with whom they will meet with for monthly one-on-ones throughout the academic year. Arpin and Wright hope to be available for their successors as they navigate their roles with the TSO Executive Cabinet.
According to Arpin and Wright, the role of SBP and VP is primarily centered around meetings that voice students' perspectives to Taylor administration members and vice versa. The SBP and VP also meet with Director of Student Programs Steve Austin once a week and meet individually with Austin every other week to touch base on goals, initiatives and personal growth.
Chin Ai Oh and Noah Nemni
Juniors Chin Ai Oh and Noah Nemni seek to speak the truth in love through their campaign for Student Body President and Vice President in their campaign for Student Body President and Vice President.
Oh first became interested in running for SBP her sophomore year. After returning from Oxford and seeking the counsel of friends and her sister, Oh decided to run and asked Nemni to join her campaign.
From their first meeting, Oh and Nemni discussed what it would look like for students to disagree in love.
Oh, a PPE major and international student from Malaysia, studied abroad at Oxford University last semester as the U.S. elections took place. She was frustrated and saddened by the reactions surrounding the election but felt as though she couldn't do anything from abroad. Nemni watched the election from campus as a PA on the Brotherhood (Broho). A Christian Ministries major, Nemni was also grieved by the disunity on campus surrounding the election.
"We want to say that, yes, we're all pursuing a certain truth," Oh said. "We're all pursuing 'capital T' truth as well; we can do that in love, and we don't need to tear each other down."
She remembers attending seminars and debates during her time at Oxford where two people from opposing viewpoints would take the stage and tear apart each other's arguments but not each other.
Oh and Nemni see their role as the question and answer period after a heated debate. They want to ask, learn and listen to students and the administration. By asking good questions they believe they can encourage students to think in different ways and yet feel supported in their views.
"We are both very relational people, and that's a good thing because this is such a relational role-we get to have one-on-one meetings pretty much all week long," Nemni said.
If elected, Oh and Nemni hope to foster similar organized debates between professors and guest lecturers about issues with which students are engaged. Oh hopes that such debates would encourage students to ask good questions, listen well and learn.
Both candidates desire to create space for students to meet with them over coffee (or tea) and voice their thoughts. Nemni encouraged students to vote for them, but also to join TSO and become an active part of change on campus.
Aaron Voss and Bella Purcell
Junior Aaron Voss first became interested in running for Student Body President (SBP) in 2015. Frustrated by the lack of bowls in the DC, he wondered how he could become involved and started asking people how he could make a difference. After his friend faced frustration while using crutches around campus, Voss began to ask how Taylor could become more handicap accessible.
An Upland native, Voss grew up knowing Taylor well. He had seven brothers who attended the university before coming there himself. Last fall, he decided to officially run for Student Body President with junior Bella Purcell, his vice presidential running mate and an international student from Spain who came to love Taylor through her time spent working in the Admissions Office on CREW. Both Voss and Purcell study Political Science, Philosophy and Economics (PPE); Voss has a minor in psychology.
Their campaign has five core values for what they'd like to accomplish on campus:
1) Improve accessibility, 2) pay the TWO executive cabinet, 3) continue to strengthen the relationship with the Counseling Center grown by current SBP, 4) include Dining Dollars on the Taylor app and 5) foster informed citizenship.
Purcell hopes that if elected, she and Voss would utilize social media to inform and update students on the state of their projects as they meet with members of Taylor administration. She sees a disconnect between students and TSO and hopes that they could be a bridge to foster a more intimate relationship with students.
Another way the running mates hope to connect with students is through one of their values: informed citizenship. Purcell noticed an abundance of programs, teams, weeks and chapels with a global focus but little about what it means to be a Christian citizen in the U.S.
For Purcell, basic citizenship literacy involves knowing how to call a Senator, get an absentee ballot and understand basic fiscal policies and what government positions such as the Secretary of Education actually do. Voss and Purcell see a program highlighting issues of citizenship and civility emerging from an office like OIP or TSO.
Voss sees misinformation as the source of logical fallacies and complacency. He hopes that the Taylor community will develop convicted civility by discussing pressing topics like the refugee crisis, homosexuality, abortion and what it means to be a Christian in a world of decadence. He and Purcell want to organize a series of guest lectures where speakers visit to discuss these and other sensitive topics.
"Through that uncomfortability comes something constructive," Voss said. "We have to find that line between pacifism and constructivism. We're trying to build people up, but not be so nice that we just completely forget what we stand for."
According to Voss, the biggest policy they hope to institute is to provide payment for TWO executive cabinet members. The TWO salaries would require a $1.50 raise of tuition for all students over a total of four years. Purcell remarked that this is less than it costs to buy a drink at the Jumping Bean. While not every student is involved in TWO, Voss calls students to consider this as contributing a small amount for those who have spent endless hours doing things often taken for granted.
"We care about what TWO is doing and this compensation that we have in store allows us to say, 'Hey, the work that you're doing is good and we stand behind it,'" Voss said.
Voss hopes the potential for payment will provide an incentive and source of appreciation for cabinet members.
Tom Metzger and Robert Chesbro *eliminated from election*
Sophomore Tom Metzger, a computer science and cybersecurity major, decided to run for Student Body President last semester and asked fellow sophomore Robert Chesbro, a communications major, to join his campaign as Vice President. They decided upon the campaign mantra "Make Taylor Yours" to represent their passion to create a campus that is for everyone.
On Thursday Feb. 16, it was discovered that Chesbro's paperwork for office was incomplete. As a result, Metzger and Chesbro were eliminated from the election.
According to Metzger and Chesbro, they were under the impression only one form would have to be submitted for both candidates; so they only submitted one form. Chesbro referenced a conversation he learned of between his assistant hall director and another individual when the realization was made that the additional form had not been signed. According to Chesbro, the two individuals tried to find out if the form was signed by a different hall director. Then, current Study Body President Nicole Arpin checked their packet and saw that the form was not there. The result was disqualification from candidacy.
The form, entitled "Spring 2016 Qualifications for Holding an Elected TSO Office" must be filled out by all candidates running for Inter-Class Council (ICC), Student Senate, Student Body President and Vice President.
According to the form, candidates must receive the signature of their Residence Hall Director and a Teaching Faculty Member prior to submitting the form.
Though Metzger and Chesbro are officially out of the election, according to current Student Body President Nicole Arpin, both Metzger and Chesbro have stated they will run again next year.
Metzger hoped to take a look into campus safety procedures and Chesbro advocated setting up a snack shack at the top of the Dining Commons that would open during finals week for late-night munchies.
At the campaign forum Wednesday night, Metzger mentioned plans for a revitalized Taylor Taxi program, a weekly booth at the top of the DC where the SBP and VP would be available to answer questions and an anonymous comment box for anyone who had any critiques, comments or questions to share with the administration.
At the forum, Metzger referenced a "Blue Lives Matter" sign he created last semester and placed outside the OIP office. According to a previous Echo article, several students were saddened and frustrated by the display. An administrator asked Metzger to remove the sign.
"Last semester, I represented myself and made that sign for something I believe," Metzger said. "As Student Body President, I am not representing myself, I'm representing you, the student body."
Students elect senators each year from every residence hall to serve one-year terms as representatives who connect students and Taylor administration. Through conversations with students, faculty, staff and administration, Senators convey the needs they discover across campus such as traffic court.
According to senior Christine Rogers, senator for off-campus housing, there are currently no candidates running from Olson, Gerig or Samuel Morris. The most recent list also did not include candidates from English and off-campus housing. If the Senate positions for each residence hall are not filled by election time, the Senate President will conduct interviews for students to fill the remaining positions.
Junior Ashley Dexter is hoping to renew her term as Swallow Robin's senator. Dexter, a Political Science, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) major is currently running uncontested.
"I really want to continue to build community within my dorm and bring Swallow more onto campus," Dexter said. "We tend to be separated just because we're so far away, and to build relationships between dorms we need people from all different areas of campus."
Here are the current candidates:
Sophomore Caleb D'Aniello (Bergwall)
Junior Ashley Dexter (Swallow)
Sophomore Christian Allen (Wengatz)
Junior Renee Antezana (Breu)
Sophomore Martha Bell (Bergwall)
Inter-Class Council (ICC) serves as a community-builder between each class by scheduling events structured to facilitate unity and involvement. Past and recurring events include Airband, Taylathon and others. Four class officers are elected to represent each class.
President Tali Valentine
Vice President Abbey Bolander
Secretary Abby Gruendyke
Treasurer Weston Poling
President Annika Noetzel
Vice President Jon Meharg
Secretary Claire Bokma
Treasurer Abby Gonzalez
President Marga Riggenbach
Vice President Nathan Mortensen
Secretary Anna Riggenbach
Treasurer Sarah Benson
Jen Cline, Junior, English Education major
"It's exciting that in some of the platforms, we saw things that have yet to be brought up and are very important, especially on a college campus this size, focusing not only on unity and conversations but also a clear vision and advocacy for the student body."
Caleb Peery, Sophomore, Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) major
"I think we have a lot of great, qualified candidates, and I am excited that many of them seem to have very practical plans to achieve change and not just slogans."