ASB executive candidates talk about platforms, goals for the university

Posted on Mar 25 2019 - 5:50am by Maddy Quon

The Daily Mississippian interviewed each of the executive candidates for the Associated Student Body about their goals for their campaigns before they debate tonight at 6 p.m. in the Overby Center auditorium.

Candidates for President

Leah Davis. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Leah Davis

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Tupelo, Miss.

Davis said she wants to focus on three points as president: access, consensus and wellness. She said she wants to make both the ASB and university administration more accessible to students by strengthening the communications branch, and she hopes to emphasize mental health on campus by creating a health and wellness position in her cabinet.

“(I want to) make sure that we have a diverse group of students with accurate representation within ASB and (by) making sure there’s unity across the student body,” Davis said.

Tom Fowlkes. Photo by Katherine Butler

Tom Fowlkes

Major: Public policy leadership, accounting

Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.

Fowlkes said if he is elected as ASB President, he will communicate with the student body directly through polls, advocate for the student body to the administration and accelerate the ASB through conversations with the Student Activities Association on how to improve and refine ASB’s programming operations.

“I believe that Ole Miss has momentum,” Fowlkes said. “I believe that every one of the students here would not have enrolled if they didn’t believe that Ole Miss has the potential to do incredible things, but every day, we, as students, face issues that harm our ability to achieve our true potential.

Barron Mayfield. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Barron Mayfield

Major: Public policy leadership

Hometown: Lubbock, Texas

Mayfield said if he is elected ASB President, the student body will be his primary focus, and he will make sure every student is given the opportunity to find a home at Ole Miss.

“Unfortunately, right now, I don’t think that our students are coming first,” Mayfield said. “Time and time again, the interests of the administration or the alumni or what the national media wants to say about us tends to define us and what we’re doing here and what we’re focused on, and I say ‘students first’ as a way to say, ‘We’ve got to focus on the day-to-day issues that students are facing.’”

Candidates for Vice President

Sarah Doty. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Sarah Doty

Major: Public policy leadership

Hometown: Brookhaven, Miss.

Doty said, because of her experience in ASB as assistant executive liaison, she will be able to turn ideas into actions and results. She believes her time in student government has helped her develop the necessary skills to lead as vice president.

“I was this voice of the executive branch. I got to talk with the different committees, and everybody had these big problems that they wanted to fix, but they only saw one solution to it. They would hit an impasse with the administration, and they would then just stop and go, ‘Oh well, it can’t be fixed,’” Doty said. “So, my whole thing is finding creative solutions to those problems, finding the root cause of the problem, because there’s always something we can do.”

Brady Keis. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Brady Kies

Major: Criminal justice

Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.

Kies said that, if elected vice president, he wants to focus on training, transparency and accessibility. He said he wants to make sure that everyone gets involved in ASB Senate.

“Pretty much every year, everyone would usually get probably 30 minutes to an hour training, either at the ASB retreat or at the end of it, and what I want to do is have at least an entire day devoted to training,” Kies said. “That way, when Senate gets started, people will know what’s going on. They’ll know the policies and procedures, and everyone can get involved with Senate meetings, so at Senate meetings it’s not just two or three people doing everything for half the term.”

J.R. Riojas

Major: Public policy leadership, philosophy, Arabic flagship program

Hometown: Wool Market, Miss.

Riojas’s campaign slogan is “Let’s get R.E.A.L.,” which stands for Revamp, Engage, Amplify and Love. For each of those letters, Riojas said he has a different policy for how he can make Senate produce senators who will better represent the student body, including a five-year plan to improve mental health resources, an enhanced forum system and leadership workshops.

“I think ASB can do a lot more Senate especially to meet students where they’re at and actually make tangible impacts on students’ lives,” Riojas said.  

Charlotte Shackelford. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Charlotte Shackelford

Major: Political science

Hometown: Mandeville, La.

Shackelford’s platform focuses on redesigning the connection between the Senate and the students and on making sure that everyone’s voice is heard. She said ASB needs to improve on informing the student body about who is representing them.

“I want senators to be going to at least one EDHE class to explain who (the students’) senator is and then how to find (out who their senator is) in years to come since they won’t always be in EDHE to give that talk forever,” Shackelford said.

Shackelford said she also wants to make an ASB Senate Google Drive that’s accessible to everyone, so anyone could see what’s going on with the senate at any time.

Nick Weaver. Photo by Katherine Butler

Nick Weaver

Major: Public policy leadership, integrated marketing communications

Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.

Weaver, while he has lots of ideas for vice president, said he is focusing on accountability, collaboration and efficiency. Weaver wants to have the Senate poll the student body so everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions, and he suggested that ASB could utilize social media polling as well.

“I’ve run this idea by plenty of people currently in ASB and other candidates for different positions that are running right now, and they all said it is a really cool thing that (we should) do,” Weaver said.

Weaver said he will form subcommittees and caucuses within the Senate so there will be more opportunities for collaboration. He also said that, in order to make the Senate meetings flow more smoothly and efficiently, they could use the projector in the room when displaying legislation so everyone will be able to read it as they’re going over it.


Candidates for Judicial Chair

Liza Boyer. Photo by Katherine Butler

Liza Boyer

Major: Political science

Hometown: Houston, Miss.

Boyer said her campaign seeks to emphasize that there are parts of the judicial process and council that aren’t easily accessible to the student body, such as the Title IX office, the University Counseling Center and the Office of Fraternal Leadership and Learning. Her slogan is “Opportunity Through Accessibility.”

“My platform is to make all the pieces of the judicial process more accessible to students. That way, the students and the university have more opportunities to be our best selves,” Boyer said. “(I’m trying) to bring all of these pieces together to hold our students more accountable but also to be a resource for them and not just a place of punishment.”

Brynn Trahan. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Brynn Trahan

Major: Public policy leadership, integrated marketing communications

Hometown: Fort Smith, Ark.

Trahan’s campaign slogan is “In Your Corner.” Trahan, who has served on the Judicial Council for the past two years, said she wants to help students through the judicial process.

“I’m advocating support for students during the judicial council so it’s essentially just there to help when we get put into situations that aren’t ideal and figuring out solutions that help students and the Ole Miss community create the most good and be the best that they can be,” Trahan said.


Candidate for Attorney General

Austin Fiala. Photo by Katherine Butler

Austin Fiala

Major: Public policy leadership, French

Hometown: Tullahoma, Tenn.

Fiala running unopposed for attorney general said he wants to create the position of deputy attorney general of justice in order to assist the attorney general in holding ASB members accountable. He said he also wants to work on election reform and voting in the student body.

“We can improve our voting interface here at Ole Miss and explore ways in which we could have information, such as candidate platforms with pictures and things of that nature even on the ballot, so we could make it to where students can easily be able to see and know exactly who and what they’re voting for when they go to (vote),” Fiala said.

Candidate for Treasurer

Gianna Schuetz. Photo by Katherine Butler.

Gianna Schuetz

Major: Accounting, theatre arts

Hometown: Huntsville, Ala.

Schuetz is running unopposed for treasurer, and she said that when she takes office, she will be focusing on three specific points: expand, educate and experience. Schuetz wants to increase the student activity fee to expand funding to organizations and to work with the career center to sponsor financial literacy seminars. Schuetz said she’s served in the ASB Treasury Department her freshman year and served as Interim Treasurer this semester, which gives her unique experience into what works efficiently in the department. 

“I’ve facilitated the switch from Orgsync to the new Forum system. I understand what has worked in the past and what does work and is working with the new system to change it to make it more streamlined,” Schuetz said.

Candidate for Secretary

Hannah Chauvin. Photo by Katherine Butler

Hannah Chauvin

Major: Political science

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Chauvin, who is running unopposed for secretary, said she wants to bridge the gap between the student body and ASB when she takes office. “I want to advocate for more transparency, especially in decisions like increasing parking fees it’s stuff that’s not very well-known,” Chauvin said. “I want to have (ASB Senate information) more available because most people don’t even know who their senator is or who to reach out to.”