Salters/Quinn Presidential Campaign Kicks Off

As the UPUA election season finally starts, so too do the presidential campaigns. Travis Salters is President of the campus NAACP and Director of Government Affairs for UPUA. He is running with Maggie Quinn, who is involved with numerous organizations on campus, from College Republicans to THON.

I sat in on the kick off meeting for the Salter/Quinn campaign to hear out their campaign plan. Travis and Maggie introduced their three planks: student debt, inclusion, and safety.

Travis started off on his plan for addressing student debt by discussing the obvious: the state budget and the imminent tuition hike from the cuts in state appropriations. To help with this, Travis brought up a rule here at Penn State which says that student organizations are unable to lobby in Harrisburg. Were he elected, Travis would campaign to change this rule and take UPUA to Harrisburg to protest the proposed changes in the budget. In addition to this, he would tackle the housing fee, which is often overlooked. The housing fee is almost as much as tuition, but if it is unpaid, the consequences are much more severe. If tuition is unpaid, you are unable to receive credits, but if housing is unpaid, you are unable to receive a transcript or transfer to a cheaper school in addition to not receiving earned credits.

The second plank of Travis’ platform is addressing the relevance of UPUA and getting students involved. He would get UPUA access to the student listserv, making UPUA much more visible to all the students at University Park. In addition, he would open more lines of communication between UPUA and students. “People think of the UPUA as people sitting in a room and passing resolutions” Travis said, talking about the disconnect between the UPUA and the students it is supposed to represent. He would hold monthly “town hall” meetings, in addition to making UPUA meetings on many levels more open to the public and accessible.

Finally, Travis talked about how he wants to approach student safety on campus. He would cover simple things like making sure all of the blue light emergency phones on campus work and students are aware of their existence, to more complicated plans like a free taxi downtown for students who feel they are in an unsafe situation or could potentially be in one. Travis emphasized his desires to expand LateNight to more student organizations and to open gymnasiums to student organizations to hold formals, using the student activity fee. “It costs almost $800 to use Alumni Hall for a night” he says, making clubs disinclined to hold their events in what he feels is a safer environment than a house downtown.

These messages certainly got the election season off to a good start, and hopefully the other candidates will be able to step up and play ball with Travis Salters and Maggie Quinn.

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John O'Brien

John is a freshman at University Park majoring in materials science and engineering. When he is not doing photography of work, he is working out with the Penn State crew team.

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