By Erik Kjer, News Editor Originally published in Issue 8, Volume 33 of The University Register on February 26, 2021
This spring will be last semester at Morris for incumbent MCSA President Sam Rosemark, and although election day is a long way off, MCSA Vice-President Julia Scovil and MCSA Student Services Secretary Dylan Young have announced that they are running to be next year’s president and vice-president respectively. The University Register spoke with the pair about their campaign.
How would you describe your platform?
Scovil: We have a lot of issues that we’re looking at pursuing in our administration, but some of the main things that we’re really looking forward to working on our issues like advising. We have talked to some students already and found out that a lot of our students, especially those in bigger majors like bio, are not necessarily assigned with advisors in their field or even in their discipline or division. Another thing we’re looking forward to is advocating for the creation of a public safety committee. Dylan has a little more info on that one.
Young: In the University Senate they formed an advisory committee for campus safety in response to the George Floyd protests last summer. Right now, there is a working group formed here in Morris with the intention of establishing an advisory committee similar to the one in the Senate. What Julia and I will do is make sure that MCSA is supporting all efforts to get this committee created.
Scovil: I think we both really look forward to kind of recreating the Morris community after COVID. We have obviously a lot of student orgs have been struggling this year to retain involvement so we really want to be a part of supporting organizations and student individual students as we hopefully return to a post-COVID world. Is there anything you’d want students to know about you?
What qualifications or accomplishments do each of you have that you’d like to share?
Scovil: Last year I was secretary of academic affairs for MCSA. I have served as a campus assembly representative since I was a freshman. I have sat on curriculum and consultative committees and then this year I am also on the student senate as well as being vice president of MCSA. I am a hall director in the on-campus apartments where I was a community advisor last year. I was also part of the Dean/VCAA search last academic year.
Young: I’ve been sort of an outsider and a newcomer to MCSA. This is actually my first year involved with the organization. I am currently serving as the MCSA Secretary of Student Services. A lot of what myself and my committee have been working on this year has been focused on the aftermath of some of the events that have taken place in 2020. [For example,] Student Affairs working on the poster policy that was developed after the poster debacle last fall. As for the Student Services Committee, we’ve been working directly with the campus’s new bias reporting system, making recommendations on how to fix that, as well as making sure that students are getting the most out of these times. Outside of MCSA, I am also the co-chair of Circle of Nations Indigenous Association, one of the bigger orgs on campus. I am also a NASS peer mentor, assistant manager at the food shelf, and I used to be a staff writer for the newspaper.
Do you have any reflections from this past year? What did you like or dislike about this year, and what would you do to change things?
Scovil: To me it’s all about making sure student voices aren’t just heard, but that they’re listened to, making sure that we’re involving students all the way across campus, and that we are being very persuasive, moving as one, working hard to achieve our goals, bringing them up with administration even if it gets shot down, and making sure our initiatives do move forward.
Young: One thing Julia and I have talked a lot about is making an aggressive push for recruitment and engagement. We think that when MCSA is strong, the campus is strong. With the climate that we’re going through now, things are a little quiet. We want to be able to fix that, and just hit the ground running next fall. We want to redefine our relationship with administration, we want to make sure that when we say what we want, it’s not going to just be thrown in the trash. One way to fix that is going to be strength in numbers, having a lot of students from different backgrounds, not just student government nerds or Poli-Sci nerds, but the athletes, CNIA and MoQSIE, members, people from all walks of campus coming together.
Going off of that, recently there hasn’t been a whole lot of competition for a lot of student elections. MCSA sees somewhat high levels of turnover from year to year, and there typically aren’t as many people running as there are positions available. What are you going to do to engage these groups you mentioned?
Scovil: Like Dylan said, we really want to engage everyone from across campus. A part of that is just us going around and talking to our friends or people we see around campus, and saying, “Hey would you be interested in this?” or, “Hey, I know you’re passionate about anti-racism work; here’s what student service is, would this be something you’d be interested in?” Dylan and I personally are not above just going to people so I think that that’s one of the biggest things that we’re going to be doing going into next year.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dylan Young was a staff writer for the University Register earlier last fall and has made regular contributions to this news section. The election filing deadline has not passed as of writing, and the University Register is interested in speaking to any candidates running in this year’s elections.