Forward KU Coalition

Editor's Note: As part of the Kansan's Student Senate election coverage, the Kansan interviewed all of the Student Body Presidential and Vice Presidential campaigns. This article is the fourth of four interviews.

David Schlesinger and Hassaan Tariq announced their campaign for Student Senate elections under the KU Forward Coalition. Together, the two are hoping KU Forward will bring a new perspective to the University of Kansas’ Student Senate.

Schlesinger, a junior from Wichita studying political science, is currently interning for state Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita) and serving as a student senator. Schlesinger said that he believes his experience will make a change within the senate and on campus.

“I can see the change that needs to happen. I can see where we are failing as a Senate and I’m not necessarily calling out anyone in particular,” Schlesinger said. “I just think as a collective group, we have failed students time and again this year. And I think the students deserve better regardless of who wins the election.”

Tariq, a senior studying computer science and business analytics, has served as a board member on many organizations across campus. These experiences are what motivated him to run as Vice President, Tariq said.

“I've served as a board member of a few organizations during my time here at KU. So I've seen the other side of Student Senate’s performance,” Tariq said. “That's kind of what motivated me to run for this position because I want to bring the change that wasn't there during my time on the other side, so to speak.”

One of KU Forward’s biggest platforms is reforming how Student Senate works. Schlesinger said that this begins with the Executive staff enforcing the Constitution.

“I think one of our major priorities is Senate reform. And that starts with the Executive branch enforcing the Constitution, as it's currently not fully being imposed,” Schlesinger said.

Another platform the coalition is running on is student outreach. Tariq said that outreach is something KU Forward plans to increase and improve.

“During our campaign, we made it a point to reach out to as many student organizations as we could and for a lot of them, it's their first time they’ve been reached out by Senate in general,” Tariq said. “So that's one of our most important missions whether or not we win the elections or not.”

Schlesinger said that KU Forward also hopes to enforce more engagement with student organizations on campus, something he said is lacking from Student Senate.

“I think personally if a senator is in Student Senate and doesn't want to do their job and doesn't want to reach out to students, then why be in Student Senate to begin with?” Schlesinger said.

Tariq also said that KU Forward would help speed up the recovery from COVID-19. He said that the Senate lost a lot of influence after the pandemic.

“I believe I can bring that unique perspective into Senate and really speed up this recovery, because frankly speaking, they've been on this recovery for the past few years,” Tariq said. “We have the experience to actually get this recovery going.”

Voting will begin the third week of April.