SGA candidates debate fall semester, textbook affordability

By Ashley Dwy

DeKALB – The SGA executive branch candidate debate allowed for Brian Acosta, third-year finance major, and Devlin Collins, third-year nonprofit and NGO studies major, to share their goals if they became SGA president for the 53rd session.

The debate was held in-person from 6  to 7 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg Auditorium and live-streamed on SGA’s Facebook page.

Collins said his top priority for SGA is to focus on a smooth transition from virtual to in-person classes and to focus on anti-discrimination policies to ensure students have a chance to feel like they are at home.

“I think we should be focusing on textbook affordability and affordability for other resources and classes,” Collins said. “Campus closing down sent a lot of students home, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people might be in a tight bind. So, focusing on these three things will be able to give the students the resources to come back to campus safely and be able to attend their classes whether they are going hybrid or in-person.”

Acosta said he is trying to focus on transfer students that process DACA recipients.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy allows certain individuals who meet program requirements to request a grant of deferred action, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s website.

“We want to make sure our professors are helping with mental and emotional stability for DACA recipients, undocumented students and minorities,” Acosta said.

To foster better communication between SGA and the student body, Collins said SGA could broadcast a town hall discussion for students to watch.

“This could be a program we do periodically, maybe say, once every three months or once a semester,” Collins said. “That could be something to survey how the students are doing here on campus or what the issues have been.”

Collins said SGA could also start updating social media to involve more resources and services that they can use to link together the entire organization and other student organizations.

Acosta wants to implement suggestion boxes throughout campus for students to directly tell the senators their grievances.

“Many of you will ignore them, but many of you that have a concern or something that makes you upset for one day, you go by a suggestion box and you’re going to write it down and put it in there,” Acosta said. “So I think by setting up those boxes we’re going to be able to hear from different voices in our community.”

Having SGA participate in multiple panels throughout the year to hear from students is another way to foster better communication between SGA and the student body, Acosta said.

There will be a meet-and-greet for the candidates in-person at 4 p.m. Monday at the oasis in Holmes Student Center. A virtual meet-and-greet will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday over Zoom.