Disclosure: The author of this piece is an elected member of the Student Government Association.
On March 30th, 2022, 23 students sat in an array of wooden chairs in Convocation Hall as spectators to a debate between the presidential candidates of both the Order of the Gown (OG) and the Student Government Association (SGA) on an array of topics. The debate was hosted by the President of the Sewanee Debate Union, Tyler Reece (C’23). The presidential candidates for the Student Government were Claire Strysick (C’23) and Anna McCasland (C’23) and for Order of the Gown were Dixon Cline (C’23), Anna Pusok (C’23), Alex Robinson (C’23), and Isabelle “Izzie” Berthelot (C’23).
The debate started out with wonderfully strong opening statements from the candidates of the OG; Izzie Berthelot’s speech addressed her plan to enmesh the Order of the Gown’s academic role with that of the Student Trustee. Alex Robinson called for small group consent training for all incoming first-year students. Through a Zoom call, Anna Pusok gave a speech on her plan for a mentor program between first year and more experienced students in front of a bricked Yale wall. Dixon Cline spoke about how the University’s EQB standards should empower students into further activism.
The Student Government Association’s opening statements struck similar tones. Strysick gave an opening statement on the necessity for further work on sexual assualt prevention on our campus, bridging gaps between students and the police department. McCasland tackled the opening statement through a Zoom connection from Denver, speaking about her time as SGA’s treasurer.
The debate was constructed through multiple segments. The moderator asked the participants to voice their views on universal gowning, the democratization of SGA’s rules on who is allowed to run for president, and the student to faculty ratio. Candidates were then allowed to cross examine their fellow candidates, where Strysick and McCasland disagreed over the role of criticism and the work of better lighting our campus. Members in attendance, who had dwindled to nearly ten, then pressed the candidates on election policy, the non-white student experience on campus, and the absense of queer related policy talk.
The election period began promptly after the debate, staying open until midnight, April 7, 2022. The results were then shared to the campus in email from the Order of the Gown. Alex Robinson, from Chattanooga, TN and currently the Order’s Parliamentarian, secured the Presidency of the Order of the Gown. Anna McCasland, from Bentonville, Arkansas and currently the Student Government’s treasurer, won the Presidency of the Student Government Association. Noah Shively won the OG’s parliamentarian position, and Pratham Singhal was elected to be the next student trustee.
The student body elected Ella Cobbs (C’23), Will McDonald (C’23), Jackson Sparkman (C’23), Grace Cummins Storelli (C’24), Bella Francois (C’24), Claire Langford (C’24), Carolyn Reid (C’24), Kostas Andriotis (C’25), Harrison Best (C’25) , Ashlyn Browne (C’25), Emily Hawkins (C’25), and Moses Vincent (C’25) to be the next class of senators. Sarah Jane Kemmer (C’23), Fisher Calame (C’23), Will Holzer (C’23), Josse Martinez (C’23), Kaj Knudsen (C’24), Vivine Kampire (C’24), Theo Maedgen (C’24), Jake Larish (C’24), Kamilla Haidaienko (C’25), Angelina Khomenok (C’25), and Jenkins Darbney (C’25) will lead the University’s honor council in the upcoming year.
A special election will be held in the upcoming semester to elect further senators to represent the class of 2023 and class of 2024.