A new coalition focused on diversity, inclusion and accessibility launched on Monday night, Feb. 4, in the Centennial Room of KU Memorial Union.
The coalition, led by respective presidential candidate Tiara Floyd and vice presidential candidate Seth Wingerter, met with about 50 prospective coalition members in the Union, discussing their future platforms and goals.
Campaign manager Zach Thomason led the meeting, where attendees chose to dub their coalition Crimson & Blue — the same name that won current Student Body President Noah Ries and Student Body Vice President Charles Jetty the election in the previous year.
“We realized that’s where we became student leaders. We’re our own Crimson & Blue. We’re here to take the legacy that came before us,” Thomason said in an interview with the Kansan following the meeting. “That might have been volume one; this is volume two.”
The coalition introduced a few platforms they plan to run on this election cycle, including those involving students’ accessibility to resources.
One of the coalition’s main platforms is to increase resources for LGBTQ+ students on campus.
Liza Overton, the communications director for Crimson & Blue, said, for example, Watkins Health Services needs more staff members for its services for transgender students.
Isabella Southwick, director of outreach for Crimson & Blue, introduced its platform for increased availability in hygiene products for low-income students.
“Campus Cupboard was opened. While there are some hygiene products there, there needs to be more,” Southwick said during the event.
Products like laundry detergent and other miscellaneous household items could be stocked in the Campus Cupboard too, Thomason said.
The final platform the coalition introduced at the meeting was to implement a system that would allow affordable travel to University sporting events.
Thomason said when he went to men’s basketball Final Four game last spring, he spent hundreds of dollars on the trip. He witnessed other schools that would help support their students in terms of transportation to get them to their respective school sporting events.
Both Floyd and Wingerter pointed to their prior experience within Senate as one of their strengths.
Floyd is the current Policy and Development Director for Student Senate. Before she held that position, she was the chair for the diversity, equity and inclusion committee within Senate.
Wingerter currently serves as the chair of the finance committee within Senate.
“We both have the perfect amount of experience to where we know about the average student, but also we have ample enough experience within Student Senate to be able to run a functional and successful government,” Wingerter said in an interview with the Kansan following the meeting.
Leaders of Crimson & Blue encouraged their members to brainstorm other platforms for their next meeting, along with a mission statement for the coalition.
“To anyone that feels like they don’t have a voice, I hear you,” Floyd said in an interview with the Kansan following the meeting. “We hear you. We’re here for you, and we’re going to fight for you.”
The next coalition meeting is Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Malott Room of the Union.
Nicole Asbury contributed to this report.