Meet your new SGA President and Vice President, TJ Eaves and Alecia Page. In an in-depth interview last week, Eaves and Page explained their platforms, how they hope to change Western’s campus, and make sure the student body is heard.
Eaves wants to make sure that there is a one-on-one relationship with incoming chancellor Dr. David Belcher. He also wants to reinforce students’ respect for their governing body in SGA. At the same time, Eaves plans on getting SGA more involved with the students it governs with student organizations and activities and possibly speaking at freshman convocation.
Page’s focus is budget cuts.
“We have a lot of things in common,” Page said about her and TJ’s platform, but her main goal is for “students to get their voices heard about budget cuts.” She has planned a movement called “Project Cut Hurt” in which students can submit videos on YouTube and letters about how the budget cuts hurt them financially and their education. A large package of the videos and letters will be submitted to the Senate in Washington D.C. Page explained this is so the members of the Senate can see the faces and hear the actual voices of the students their decisions are affecting.
Both candidates want more feedback from the students at Western. Eaves would like to set up tables on the University Center lawn to hear from hear from students at least once a week. He also discussed comment boxes in the UC and is deciding on whether he would like to give a “State of the University” address, as he called it, at least once a semester.
By the end of May, both Eaves and Page have planned to get much underway before the start of the 2011 fall semester. Eaves will be strengthening his relationship with the new chancellor over the summer as he plans to remain in Cullowhee. Eaves will also have a cabinet selected by May 1 and hopes to have a budget and a revision of the bylaws of the Constitution completed by the semester’s end. Page is already working to get student involvement with her “Project Cut Hurt” by “compiling information for that project,” she said.
Daniel Dorsey, SGA President for the 2010-2011 school year, has been a major help to the two new presidential members. Eaves explained that they meet at least once a week and has helped Eaves and Page create relationships by introducing them personally to the higher level educators.
“We are currently in the transition phase right now,” Dorsey said. “I am working with TJ on the goals and objectives that he and Alecia wish to accomplish. We are setting the SGA budget for next semester and I also know Jared is working with Alecia on transitioning into the vice president position as well.”
Dorsey was impressed with Eaves and Page’s campaign, saying their strongest moment was the “Rock the Vote” debate.
“In talking with some students,” he said, “I found that many showed up at the debate to support Doug and Ben, but left wanting to vote for TJ and Alecia.
“The one thing I hope TJ will do next year,” Dorsey continued, “is have a forum for students with the university upper administration…to answer any and all questions that students may have.”
In relation to the election voting recount, neither Eaves nor Page were concerned about the outcome. Eaves was initially disappointed his win was not being official, saying it delayed meetings and the next steps in the process because of the invalid votes.
“I’m glad the recount happened,” Eaves admitted. “I’m glad they found that out. That’s big. I think they (the SGA Elections committee) went above and beyond to make sure the election was fair.”
“I would like to see more clearly assigned rules about campaigning,” Page commented about future elections. She added that the committee was “very unbiased, very professional” in how they handled the recount.
In response to Doug Bridges, the presidential candidate with the least amount of votes in the election, calling Eaves out about the button on Election Day, Eaves was baffled. He explained the reason he was in the UC was due to immediate SGA business as his former role of Chief Justice.
“I don’t know whether that was actually a violation of the election rule. I never thought about a button on myself… If I had made a T-shirt…, would I have had to take the shirt off my back to enter the University Center?” asked Eaves.
In the end, it was the vote tally that mattered.
“Honestly, I wasn’t concerned,” said Page. “I knew TJ and I hadn’t done anything deceptive…We still won by over 300 votes.”