- Four more years
Students react to Obama’s 2nd term
Re-election divides students
Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Reporter
After months of gaffes, embarrassing quotes and straight-answer-dodging debates, the final curtain fell on the 2012 presid
ential campaign with the American public re-electing President Barack Obama. As the election year atmosphere begins to fade, PSU students weighed in on Tuesday night’s results.
“I yelled out, ‘No!’” said Samantha Gentry, undeclared freshman. “The first clue was how close the election was that evening. When they tallied the popular vote and called Ohio, I cringed.”
It seems that Gorillas are as polarized as the rest of the country when it comes to the president. Some students were lamenting four more years of the administration and others, like Darrell Chism, were relieved at the president’s re-election.
“It was really dead-even for a minute,” said Chism, sophomore in business management. “I was really nervous because it was so close. But I was happy overall.”
Chism says he and his watch party were almost certain which way the election would go, but the numbers earlier in the evening made him and his friends uneasy. Chism says his response was more emotional because he got to vote for the first time. This rang true for students on the other side, like Aaron Dean.
“I was just kind of pissed off and didn’t want anyone to talk about it,” said Dean, sophomore in biology. “It stung a little more because I voted.”
Dean says President Obama needs to work harder on improving the job market, lowering the unemployment rate and keep away from what he says is an unfair taxation on the wealthy.
“I’d be really happy if he didn’t try to take money away from high-paying jobs, like doctors,” Dean said. “They work really hard for their education and shouldn’t have their money taken away.”
Due to the divisive nature of American politics, students like Micah Black stress the importance of research and being informed when stepping into the political discussion.
“I try to make an effort to be as informed as I can,” said Black, junior in political science and French. “I think it’s important as an American to know who you’re voting for, not just as a political science major. Today’s culture is interesting and extremely polarized politically. It’s important to really know the candidates and make a concerted effort to inform yourself, since political advertising can get so heated and negative.”
Black says the new generation has the power to challenge the trademark polarization of American politics. She says young people could possibly bridge the gap between the many different ideologies that make up the country by the politicians that they don’t want to be divided as a nation.
“Perhaps it sounds cliche, but young voters truly do shape the future of the political culture,” she said. “If we can show them that we want to see cooperation across ideological lines, then that is what we will begin to see.”
What happens now?
Marcus Clem | Collegio Reporter
President Barack Obama earned another term on Nov. 6 by a sizable, if not quite landslide, margin. He received a little more than 50 percent of the popular vote and 303 electoral votes, as of Wednesday, Nov. 7 (270 were needed to win).
Now, the nation proceeds to the business of governing.
“Like a lot of Americans, I am relieved that it is over,” said Steve Scott, university president. “I think we all suffered some from campaign fatigue. The discourse and dialogue was not very positive, across the board.”
Scott says he is hopeful the intense partisanship of the election year will be set aside to confront the host of challenges facing the nation’s government. The national debt continues to climb from the current level of $16 trillion; this poses a long-term problem. Set within it is a potential short-term crisis: the sequestered provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Without action by the end of January, taxes at all income levels will go up and all sectors of government spending will be slashed by margins that will likely trigger a renewed economic recession.
“This is a serious issue that is going to take some serious problem solving,” Scott said.
With 55 Democrats in the 100-seat Senate, and 193 in the 435-seat House of Representatives, the president’s party cannot pass what is needed alone, even with the political capital gained by Tuesday’s vote.
“There was no big single impact from the election,” said Michael Giffin, sophomore in chemistry and physics. “It is the same status quo. You still have a Republican majority in the House, a Democratic majority in the Senate. Obama will still be president. He still will not pass much legislation through. The problem is taxes are about to go up and Congress is going to have a hard time doing something with a divided House.”
Some Republicans, like Aaron Heidebrecht, senior in political science, say the outcome is disappointing, and the future could be uncertain for students.
“Everything that Obama has done prior to this has just been leading up to re-election,” he said. “Now that he is in his last four years of his presidency, he can basically do everything he has been planning on that he couldn’t do before. It’s kind of up in the air as to how it is going to affect us.”
Mike Zuniga says that as a Democrat, he celebrates Obama’s re-election, but retains some worry about what the government can and will do.
“I don’t have any loans, so I’m very fortunate,” said Zuniga, senior in graphic communications management. “I would love to see what the government is going to do about the loan problem. We don’t have any specifics.”
Zuniga says the political gridlock confronting the new Congress, though a few seats changed hands it remains at relatively the same levels of representation, will make any major changes tough to come by.
“Honestly, it is hard to come up with what you want to see happening without sounding like an idealist,” Zuniga said.
Giffin says he is a Libertarian who voted for his party’s candidate, former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. While Johnson had no chance at victory, Giffin backed him as a protest vote against legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, supported by both parties.
That law, among other provisions, empowers federal agencies to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of terrorism, and Giffin says this is an unconstitutional provision that outweighs all economic concerns.
“We have trillions of dollars in debt, and it keeps going up,” he said. “No one seems to be talking about it. Unfortunately, people think that voting Libertarian is a waste of your vote, and it is not wasting your vote if it is something you believe in.”
More commonly known problems like student loan debt are something that students, families and the government need to carefully examine, he says.
“Students need to be fiscally responsible on their own and not take out quite so much loan money unless they have to. A lot of the student debt is not entirely necessary,” Giffin said. “This is not to say it is not still a problem, but students need to try to minimize it.”
- SGA elections turnout highest in last decade
Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
Eric Jones, SGA president, announced Wednesday that, for the first time in 10 years, SGA elections tallied votes from more than 10 percent of the student body.
“The minimum number is 681 votes for elections, and we’ve surpassed 800 after today,” Jones said. “This is by far the biggest voter turnout that SGA has seen in recent years.”
Austin Osborn, SGA vice president, also announced that he completed a tuition committee meeting last week, and one of the biggest concerns about tuition costs centered on the salary rate for PSU instructors. Osborn says two financial instructors in the business department have left for other universities with better pay.
“The business dean, Paul Grimes, came to us during our meeting and brought these salary issues to light for us,” Osborn said. “If you look at the numbers in comparison with other universities, PSU has to increase the salary rate at least 2 percent in tuition costs.”
The Scantron scare is no more. Lara Ismert, SGA academic affairs director, says she ordered 4,000 Scantrons last week.
SGA election results will be announced by 8:30 a.m. Friday.
- Getting to know BOOM, ASAP
BOOM (Break Out of the Menagerie) Party
Presidential candidate Lara Ismert
Q: What does it mean for students to “Break Out of the Menagerie”?
A: The cool thing about a menagerie is that it not just a cage, it’s this collection of all sorts of unique animals, something that deserves to be outside. It’s fitting with having our mascot a Gorilla. More student ideas should be out in the open, and not squashed.
Q: What are some past accomplishments you’ve aimed for in SGA?
A: During the past year I came up with a weekly event on the Oval on Wednesdays, as a way to encourage students to gather concerns. SGA has an expectation of students coming straight to their organization. It’s important to notify our constituents about what’s going on around campus.
Q: What has your campaign already implemented around PSU’s campus?
A: We’ve used recyclable materials to make all of our posters and all of our signs around campus. We’ve started Sure Happy It’s Tuesday, essentially a preview of what next year’s weekly event will be like. We’re going to string all the answers to gathered students’ concerns, and post it on a Facebook page.”
ASAP (All Students Advocacy Party)
Presidential candidate Kafui Alomenu
Q: What results would you like to see from an “All Students Advocacy Party”?
A: Our keyword is advocacy, to seek students’ concerns and opinions. Address these in a timely fashion as much as we can. We want to work on initiatives that will make SGA not depend entirely on student fee dollars and dig into SGA savings. We wish to develop student leadership, starting from freshman level, because this is a group most likely to stay committed on campus.
Q: What are some major ongoing issues PSU is currently dealing with?
A: The major issue is the ever-increasing tuition and general college attendance cost. Besides that, there is a lack of involvement and participation in events besides football or basketball. We’d like to see other events in a form of intellectual or leadership-oriented that are not paid attention to. We therefore wish to put up motivating measures to psych student involvement in this. We wish to help students find a balance.
Q: What are some future ideas that, if elected, you would seek to implement around PSU’s campus?
A: We aim at making the entire student populace more aware of SGA, and its foundations by organizing opinion times outside of formal meeting hours. We intend to periodically meet constituents informally by ensuring senators and executives collectively approach all groups and students generally in a way that is not intimidating, seeking the other views and concerns and making them contribute to student government because every student is an automatic member of SGA and needs to be heard.”
2012 SGA ELECTION CANDIDATESPresident
Alomenu Kafui | ASAPIsmert Lara BOOM | Vice-President
Stremel Edwin | ASAP
Ward Sydney | BOOM
College of Arts & Sciences
Bell Clinton | BOOM
Botkin Zachary | BOOM
Foster Sierra | BOOM
Gilbreath Audrey | BOOM
Miller Jourdan | BOOM
Osborn Austin | BOOM
Saladino Elisa | INDY
Woodruff Ryan | BOOM
Wormington Joshua | BOOM
York Alyssa | INDY
Zoglman Jason | INDY
College of Business
Horvath Alex | BOOM
Hulls Megan | BOOM
Simoncic Jordan | BOOM
College of Education
Kunshek Jeanine | BOOM
Reed Joshua | BOOM
College of Technology
Chastain Steve | INDY
Martinez Rene | BOOM
Saltat James | BOOM
Schwenker Kyle | BOOM
Tener Kerra | BOOM
Senator At Large
Bailey Cierra | ASAP
Baldwin John | INDY
Bonzo Dustin | BOOM
Briski Eugene | BOOM
Bui Minh | BOOM
Casaert Kaitlynn | INDY
Contreras Jose | ASAP
Cruz Christain | BOOM
Eigenmann Natasha | BOOM
Giffin Michael | BOOM
Gravett Taylor | BOOM
Letner | Jake BOOM
Mallatt Dakotah | INDY
Mika Emily | BOOM
Ong Lindsay | BOOM
Pester Samuel | BOOM
Spears Tim | BOOM
Tucker Sarah | INDY
Walker Elle | BOOM
Warlop Heidi | BOOM
Adams Evan | INDY
- Candidates debate campaign goals
Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
In a debate between the BOOM party and the ASAP party, candidates covered topics ranging from student apathy toward SGA to plans for enhancing everyday campus life, sharing their visions for PSU’s future in front of about 40 students.
Eric Jones, SGA president, opened the debate by asking the candidates for their opinions on a recently published article about a possible disconnect between students and SGA.
Sydney Ward, BOOM (Break Out of the Menagerie) party candidate for vice president, says that there is definitely an issue of student disconnect from SGA.
“For too long we’ve had this reputation as this group of Greek elitists. I don’t think it’s the students’ fault, though,” said Ward, junior in communication. “It’s up to us, SGA, to make known that we want to make a difference and encourage student organizations to come to us for support.”
Ward cited a recent event implemented by BOOM, titled “Sure Happy It’s Tuesday,” where members of PSU’s campus can notify SGA about their ongoing issues.
Edwin Stremel, ASAP (All Students Advocacy Party) candidate for vice president, says he wishes to see a greater representation for organizations around PSU in the future.
“What we really want to do is make sure we have a campus where everyone wants to be involved,” said Stremel, senior in automotive technology. “I think some organizations feel like they are disconnected from it all, therefore they feel disconnected. I don’t think that should happen.”
Sen. Thomas Gregory asked the candidates for their stance on the proposed conceal and carry bill in the Kansas Legislature.
Stremel says he sees no harm in the responsible carrying of a concealed firearm around campus.
“If you look at the history, not a single massacre has taken place at schools with concealed and carry weapons rights,” Stremel said. “As is, you have to admit it doesn’t make it any less safe to allow it.”
Ward says she wants to see a campus free of any weaponry, citing research that has shown the benefits of being firearm free.
“In past years, SGA continued to be against allowing firearms on campus,” Ward said. “Police officers are put in more danger around campus if this were to be carried out and allowed.”
The focus then shifted to the plans for making PSU a tobacco-free campus.
Kafui Alomenu, presidential candidate for ASAP, says that the amount of time it takes to make the campus tobacco-free depends on how much students know about the plan.
“’When is it going to happen?’ is a regular question,” said Alomenu, graduate student. “I think what we really need to do is get some more student attention for it. It’s for the better health of everyone.”
Lara Ismert, presidential candidate for BOOM, says that making PSU a tobacco-free campus can be achieved in the near future.
“I think that we’ll see less opposition for a future tobacco-free campus,” said Ismert, senior in English and math. “It’s definitely something that I’m excited to see happen in the coming years.”
At the end of the debate, both candidates were asked what some of their top initiatives would be if they were elected.
Alomenu says he hopes to increase student connectivity around PSU.
“A big problem is just students not knowing what all is going on around the university,” Alomenu said. “When students aren’t able to be informed about what’s happening around campus, they won’t be able to get out in the open with their ideas. That is a big problem for those organizations wanting to gain attention and publicity.”
Ismert says she hopes to make the university a “greener” campus, and improve student connectivity.
“We need to partake in receptacles for recyclable materials,” Ismert said. “SGA should work to provide those for students, and they should make sure students know what’s going on during meetings.”
Online voting for the next SGA leaders opened on April 11 and will close on April 19.
- SGA fears lacks of Scantrons
Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
SGA has managed to keep an eye on current issues within the student body despite the ongoing SGA elections.
Peter Kipp, SGA treasurer, says the deadline for allocations receipts is fast approaching: April 27.
“We were able to run a smooth allocations process this last year, and we hope to wrap it up successfully,” Kipp said.
Emily Smith, Big Event coordinator, informed members that the Big Event is fast approaching, and all student organizations involved need to report to the Weede at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Senator Thomas Gregory says elections are in full swing. Sen. Gregory says that elections started Wednesday and students will be able to vote by going to their GUS accounts. Gregory also says that SGA is facing a shortage of Scantrons.
“The big problem here is that we have finals week approaching, and it’s looking like we won’t have enough by the time that rolls around,” Gregory said. “We should possibly look into SGA’s budget in order to try and subsidize a deal.”
Elections are set to continue throughout the week, ending April 19. Students may vote for candidates from the BOOM or ASAP party.