Candidates for student body president and vice president from the ActUpKU and KUnity coalitions participated in a debate hosted by the Student Senate’s trial court Thursday evening. The candidates spoke about their platforms on mental health accessibility, environmental issues and topics impacting marginalized communities at the University of Kansas.
ActUpKU presidential candidate Niya Denise McAdoo and vice-presidential candidate Ethan Roark pointed to their work as resident assistants within KU student housing and their work within the KU Black Student Coalition as reasons why they are well-qualified to be the student body president and vice president.
KUnity presidential candidate Andrew Moore and vice presidential candidate Will Cook highlighted Moore’s work within Senate as treasurer and Cook’s work on the undergraduate business council as reasons why they are qualified for the top jobs within the Student Senate.
The coalitions spoke about their plans for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion if they were elected. McAdoo criticized KU for the lack of transparency and involvement with marginalized communities in their recent decision-making, while Moore pointed to increasing funding for student groups as a potential way for Senate to promote DEI.
McAdoo and Moore spoke about the toxic culture prevalent in the Senate, including the actions that resulted in the resignation of former Student Body Vice President Grant Daily. McAdoo criticized Moore for his role within Senate and not standing up against Daily, while Moore said the Senate should use current laws allowing for suspensions or censures to be imposed on anyone acting inappropriately in the future.
“You should have been advocating for the disciplinary actions of the previous vice president,” McAdoo said. “You had the opportunity to do so and you chose not to do it.”
In an individual question, Roark said the Senate should look at funding programs outside of just student fees and consider ways for low-income students to pay less of the student fees, which are currently required to be paid by every student each semester.
Cook responded to a question about the culture within Greek life being dangerous for women by saying Senate should review the student code and potentially allow the university to be more involved in disciplining students. Cook clarified he is not involved in Greek life at KU.
Voting for the Student Senate election begins April 18 on Rock Chalk Central.