Candidates for Student Association’s executive branch debate


By Logan Love

With the Student Association (SA) executive branch elections next week, candidates spoke out at a two-hour debate Wednesday night.

It featured candidates running for the positions of president, vice president, treasurer and student trustee.

Presidential candidate Daihee Cho made his opening statements first and introduced the three points of his platform: safety, diversity and Huskie pride. His rhetoric focused mainly on diversity. Cho expressed an interest in working with DeKalb and Sycamore to curb alcohol abuse and violence in the NIU community. Cho also said he wanted to create a diversity oversight commission to unite all of the separate diversity organizations NIU has.

“Diverse students have a big population at NIU, maybe a total of 30 to 40 percent,” Cho said. “Since they are separate, I think their voice is not heard too often. So that’s why I want to enhance the sense of unity so we can unite as one body.”

Cho is a senior accounting major and is serving as the director of Student Life under SA President Delonte LeFlore.

Presidential candidate Jack Barry, a junior marketing major, used his time in the debate to stress increasing student involvement and helping to “break in” the new administration. He has been an SA senator since his sophomore year and is serving as director of advertising under LeFlore. Barry is also the advertising manager for the Northern Star and the treasurer for Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.

Barry offered a hard work approach to the office of the president, saying he’s never worked for just a paycheck.

“You can sit here and be a complainer or you can go out and make the change you want to see,” Barry said.

Throughout the debate, Barry emphasized getting students involved, and he pointed to the lack of communication between the SA and the student body as a cause of low involvement.

“We need to be in the dorms more than just the first week,” Barry said. “We need to set up tables in Barsema, and we need to be at large events like tailgating for football games.”

Barry said recent scandals have earned NIU a bad reputation, but it isn’t necessarily warranted.

“It’s a perception issue,” Barry said. “There’s so much good here, but all you see in the media is the bad.”

The only other contested race is for the position of student trustee. Ryan Dunleavy, junior psychology and anthropology major, is challenging current trustee Elliot Echols. Dunleavy is the treasurer of the Green PAWS Environmental Alliance. Echols, a graduate student, has previously served as SA president and director of Athletics and Recreation for the SA. Echols is also affiliated with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Black Student Union.

Echols stressed his experience and knowledge of the position during the debate and blamed the SA for low student involvement.

Kaliah Smith, junior fashion merchandising major, is running unopposed for the office of vice president. She is a write-in candidate. Smith expressed her desire to meet with each and every group on campus and listen to their comments and complaints.

“I’m still nervous even though I’m the only person running, because I want my peers to get to know me,” Smith said.

Junior finance major Ivan Garcia is running unopposed for the office of treasurer. Garcia is currently the treasurer for the Latino Student Union.

“I have a lot of experience dealing with people much older than myself, voting situations and trying and to encourage other people to vote,” Garcia said.

The election will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 26 and 27. Polling areas will be located in the Holmes Student Center, Barsema Hall, Founders Memorial Library, Dusable Hall and the Recreation Center.