UPUA Election: Adewumi vs Ragland
The race seems to be heavily heating up between both David Adewumi and Christian Ragland to see who may be able to land the much vaunted spot of UPUA President. I recently got a chance to sit down and speak to both candidates, in order to get them to explain to everyone (in layman’s terms) their respective platforms.
When I spoke to David about why he opted to run for UPUA President, he had this to say: “We need a student government that will focus on the most critical questions and the most critical concerns that the students have.” He highlighted the major problems that students face.
- Where are students going to live?
- How much will tuition cost?
- What are students going to do after graduation?
Housing: Adewumi states that through his own personal experience by working in California and in Baltimore, he was able to see fair housing markets and feels that he can utilize that information to make Penn State’s housing market more fair. He hopes to implement something known as the TRL – Tenant Review of Landlord (not with Carson Daly). He hopes to put the say back in the hands of the students by creating a web application which is filled out by students who live off campus, in which they review their landlords. This, Adewumi hopes, will allow for more information about the landlords from a students perspective, which students can use to their benefit while searching for apartments.
Tuition: Adewumi aims to also lower tuition in various ways. “The word university means unity in diversity,” he said. He feels that through getting more money from the state of Pennsylvania, raising money from general funds, and helping make budget cuts, tuition can be lowered for students. By uniting all of Penn State, Adewumi thinks that he will get diverse groups of people (staff, students, alums) united to make education more affordable. His goal is to lower tuition to $10,000 per year over the next 10 years.
Graduation: He also hopes to tackle point number three in various ways, mostly through the help of technology improvement. One of which is appointing a student as chief technology officer(CTO) in order to coordinate with the Borough and University on the technical issues faced at Penn State. Adewumi aspires to improve and expand the range of wireless internet on campus. Finally, he hopes to provide free wireless to the internet without a need for VPN access. The CTO would also work closely with Career Services to help streamline the process to apply for internships and hunt for jobs and other post graduate opportunities.
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When I spoke to Christian Ragland about his decision to run for UPUA President, he had this to say: “Our desire is to bring UPUA back into the hands of the students.”
Ragland feels that he will be “operating out of a sense of urgency which stems for benefiting the students.” He also said that his platform will consist of tackling major issues that plague students as well as providing students with more tangible benefits (akin to extension of White Loop hours).Ragland feels that he brings with him much experience to the table, as he has been heavily involved in many diverse campus activities apart from the UPUA and can use that to his advantage in deciding on how to best benefit the students. A full list of what Ragland hopes to accomplish may be found here.
Some of the things which I was fortunate to talk him about are as follows.
Tuition: Ragland feels that Penn State may be a strong voice in the fight against raising tuition. He thinks that the Pennsylvania Tuition Coalition could be revitalized, which would work closely with the Pennsylvania Student Association and lobby in Harrisburg on behalf of the students for increased appropriation. Ragland believes that a large body of students attempting to tackle this situation at a state wide level could help with the lowering of tuition.
Campus Safety: Ragland wants to continue the various safety initiatives started by UPUA over the year by increasing campus lighting in order to fend off assaults of any kind. He also wants to promote a “Know Your Rights” card so students know their rights by law. These cards will also contain numbers of taxis, the free walk service provided by Penn State, and emergency numbers in order to increase safety measures. The cards will be business card sized, so it will be easy to carry around for students.
Housing: Ragland recognizes the massive crunch that exists in housing at Penn State – both on and off campus. For on campus, Ragland hopes to talk to office of Residence Life to try to understand the denial of housing contracts, the need for supplemental housing, and how best to resolve that issue. For off campus living, Ragland wants to revitalize the Landlord/Tenant Mediation Center so issues between tenants and landlords may be mediated by attorneys and a legal service center.
Ragland hopes to work very close with the State College Burough Council on ventures such as housing and hopes to greatly improve relations. He also aspires to offers some tangible items to students, like the following:
- Subsidies for test prep classes such as the GRE’s, LSAT’s and MCAT’s.
- GPS tracking of CATA Buses
- Expanding campus wireless internet
- Increasing the number of print pages per student
I have just summarized what will be a very competitive campaign for both these gentlemen. I urge you as Penn State students to read the literature regarding their policies, as they will directly affect how the next year will go for you (provided you are still here). It is very important to know why you are voting for someone, lest your voice be unheard and/or uneducated.
[Photo Credit: Chase Tralka]