Platforms explained at forum

Candidates from left to right: Franklin and Johnson, Hanson and Hamilton.

Candidates running for the positions of Student Body President and Vice President explained their platforms to students at their first public forum in Wilkerson Dining Hall. Choices for the executive branch in this year’s election are Hanson and Hamilton or Franklin  and Johnson.

Collin Hanson is a sophomore from Sheyenne, N.D. studying Political Science and Nonprofit Leadership. His running mate Hayley Hamilton, from Golden Valley, Minn., is a junior majoring in Political Science.

Also running for Student Body President is Tanner Franklin, a senior from Duluth, Minn. majoring in operations and supply chain management. Franklin is joined by Fargo native Brett Johnson, who is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Biology and Honors.

“Thank you to both of the candidates for stepping up to this important role for our campus,” said  forum moderator Kylie Oversen, who was UND Student Body President 2011-2012 and now serves on the North Dakota House of Representatives for District 42.

Before the debates began, each team was given one minute to introduce itself and its platform.

Hamilton started off by outlining her and Hanson’s three main goals – campus safety, better student-advisor relationships and affordable tuition.

Franklin said he and Johnson are looking to make a long-lasting impact on the university.

For the first debate round, candidates were given three different questions and had two minutes to answer each one. When asked what he thinks is the most important issue UND students currently face, Franklin went more in depth about his and Johnson’s goals.

“Based on the conversations we have had with many students, the most important issue is tuition at this university,” he said. “We want to reduce student fees and tuition, and we will work with North Dakota Legislature to achieve this. We will also work right here at UND to make sure your student fees are being used wisely.”

Hanson and Hamilton had a different opinion on the most important issue facing UND students.

“The most pressing issue is students trying to find their major here at UND, and we would like to help them find their way,” Hamilton said.

In the second round, each team asked the opposing team a question, and the third round featured questions from the audience. Because Hanson/Hamilton mentioned safety in their goals earlier in the forum, Hamilton answered an audience question about exactly what they would do to increase safety.

“Collin and I are really passionate about this issue,” she said. “We would like to increase lighting on campus because there are a lot of dark spots, and we would like to install lighted crosswalks.”

Franklin and Johnson are also concerned with safety issues but brought their own ideas to the table.

“We would like to continue to use the Adopt-a-Cop program, and we are looking into getting surveillance cameras in parking lots,” Franklin said.

To wrap up the forum, Hanson offered a final explanation for why students should vote for him and Hamilton.

“Our vision is clear. We are proven leaders, and we know we can get things done,” Hanson said.

Franklin said he and Johnson deserve the votes because they are highly motivated to help students.

“We are willing to work with administration on issues, but we will also defend students against administration on other things,” Franklin said.

The next public forum will be Wednesday in the Loading Dock from 4 to 6 p.m. It will feature the Residence Senator candidates in addition to the executive candidates. A similar session will be held April 14 in the Loading Dock from 7 to 9 p.m. featuring the Academic Senator and executive candidates.

Student Government elections will be held Wednesday April 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Union, Gamble and Wilkerson. Johnson urged students to let their voice be heard and vote in the election.

“Students should vote because they can shape the leadership, making an impact on what this campus will do in the future,” Johnson said.

Emmy Erbes is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].