BY MEGHAN JOBSON
On Oct. 10 and 11, Augustana voted for their first and second-year ASA representatives. The candidates presented compelling discussions during the Candidates’ Forum the previous Thursday on a variety of topics including on and off campus living, and sexual violence among students.
When asked about working with residence services and how they plan on tailoring their goals to incorporate residence, Richard Li, who ran for first-year rep, discussed his ideas to open up the floor to incorporate more discourse with residence services. Elizabeth Turner, who also ran for first-year rep, focused her response on communication and, like Li, open up the doors for discussion with students. Dawson Mantyka, who was elected first-year rep made a distinguishment in his response between the ASA and residence services saying his position as ASA rep doesn’t include residencies because that is the mandate of the RA’s. Devon Baranowski, the elected second-year rep, agreed with Mantyka saying that he wasn’t concerned with residence in his platform because there is a difference between a resident and a student. He went on to discuss how the ASA is concerned with the more academic side of the student experience, not the residence side, however as he put it, “the ASA will always be there for a student.”
Taylor Johnson, ASA president then asked how the students plan to address issues that off campus students face even though most of the candidates live on campus. Baranowski responded that most of the issues that off-campus students face pertain to schooling which is where the ASA could step in and try and help, saying that it is kind of an unspoken rule that the ASA is there for off campus students. Mantyka suggested anonymous drop boxes to reach out to off campus students. Turner pointed out the importance of becoming an approachable voice and allowing students to feel heard. Li responded with bringing up the off campus rep position.
When the candidates were asked how they plan on bringing awareness to, and helping prevent sexual assault and sexual violence on and off campus. In their responses, the candidates discussed education as a potential way of prevention, relying heavily on the Keith Edwards talk that has been part of the first year seminar courses the last two years. However, they also all explained that due to the vastness of the issue, there isn’t a lot the ASA can do in order to prevent it other than education and awareness. Mantyka even went so far as to say that the issue spans far beyond what he feels his capabilities are and should be dealt with at the governmental level and said “at the end of the day there are people who are going to do things that aren’t socially acceptable.”
Augustana voted the week following the forum, on Oct. 10 and 11 and elected Mantyka as the first year rep and Baranowski as the second-year rep.