Special Senate election candidates speak at forum 

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

The Student Government Association hosted a public forum for special Senate election candidates on Sunday night. 

There are five candidates running to fill five vacant seats in the Nov. 30 election.

Three of the five candidates — Justin McCleskey, Harrison Powell and Emmett Wilson — gathered in the UA Student Center Forum to share their platforms for up to five minutes each. The event lasted 12 minutes. 

The gathering was livestreamed and recorded on both the SGA Facebook and Instagram. Fifteen people filed into the Forum to watch the event live, including three candidates, two Crimson White reporters and a few SGA members. 

McCleskey and Powell are both running for Graduate School seats alongside Aaron Wilkes, who did not attend the forum. A fourth candidate, Dalis Lampkins, withdrew from the race. There are two Graduate School vacancies. 

Wilson is running unopposed for the Commerce and Business Administration seat, and Elizabeth Brown, who was not in attendance, is running unopposed for the Law School seat. The second Law School vacancy will be filled via a write-in vote. 

Graduate School 

Powell said he wasn’t surprised by the low turnout at the event, considering the “low stakes” of the Graduate School election. 

“I think five or 10 votes will win the election [for a graduate seat],” Powell said. 

Powell said he wants to become involved with the SGA again. He previously served as a member of the First-Year Council and as the SGA Programming Director during his junior year. 

“I guess my platform really focuses on helping all 37,000 students, not just the graduate students,” Powell said. 

He wants to propose the year-round opening of Bryant-Denny Stadium for students, which is something he said the University of Florida allows at its football stadium.  

“As far as the transparency issues, I guess it’s a problem that should be addressed,” Powell said. “I don’t think I’m the person to address it. I’m seeking to address more issues that affect every student, that are more prominent on campus, other than who’s homecoming queen or who sits in the Senate.”

McCleskey spoke on his three-part platform: graduate representation, legislative transparency and mental health on campus. 

McClesky acknowledged the discrepancies within the homecoming election and the transparency issue between the SGA and the student body. He commended the sit-ins and attendance at Senate meetings in response to the homecoming election. 

“[The sit-ins and Senate meetings are] a really tangible way to actually do something, because we’re starting to paint a picture of which senators actually are supportive of the student body and which ones aren’t representative of it,” McCleskey said. 

McCleskey said he is in favor of reforming the elections board and having most, or preferably all, of its members non-SGA affiliated.

Commerce and Business Administration 

Wilson hopes to focus on freshman involvement and engagement within the Culverhouse College of Business. He declined an interview after the forum. 

The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on myBama.