University of Kansas Student Senate coalition ForwardKU’s student body president candidate Martín Vazquez and student body vice president candidate Max Schieber announced last week they are stepping down from the coalition and have suspended their campaign.
Instead, they will work to elect a coalition of senators to enact the changes they were pushing for previously, including mental health accessibility, renewable energy and campus equity.
“We're a movement of students trying to accomplish certain goals,” Schieber said. “We kind of learned throughout this campaign cycle that, you know, maybe [student body president and vice president] aren't the right means for us, so we’re going to be taking a different route to get to the same point.”
Vazquez and Schieber’s stepped down to allow their coalition to focus on its platforms and enact them once in office, instead of dealing with internal politics, they said. Recently, the coalition faced criticism on social media over their role in creating a toxic environment within Senate, especially for people of color.
“I had to take a step back and be like, ‘Look at everything that's going on right now, look at the entire environment that is being created,’” Vazquez said. “We need to make sure that our senators and the people that are in the coalition have the time and energy to focus on what they want to focus on, and that's the platforms.”
Another coalition, KUnity, recently announced a change in its ticket. After the coalition's original presidential candidate Addison Henson was elected student body vice president for the remainder of the current school year, she announced she would withdraw her name as the student body president candidate on KUnity’s ticket.
“The priority we’ve always had was to serve students, and Addison had the opportunity to do that,” her former running mate and Senate Treasurer Andrew Moore said.
Moore said he is now running for student body president as part of the KUnity coalition, with Undergraduate Business Council President Will Cook joining the ticket as candidate for student body vice president.
“We will be moving forward with the same coalition, same senators and same platforms,” Moore said.
KUnity is joined by ActUpKU in the race for student body president and vice president.
Voting in the Senate election will begin April 18.