Progressive Voter Coalition: Vice President of Student Organizations Candidate

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Progressive Voter Coalition: Vice President of Student Organizations Candidate

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Editor’s Note: The Progressive Voter Coalition has since been disbanded by the USG Awards and Elections Committee. Click here for more information.

The Hullabaloo is reposting the answers as written by candidates and submitted to the Progressive Voter Coalition. These responses have not been copy edited by our copy team.

The Progressive Voter Coalition (PVC)’s goal is to advocate for progressive goals and values and ensure that the voices of students are heard with the same volume other powerful institutions. We are excited to present the PVC Questionnaire for the 2018-2019 USG Executive Board candidates. We contacted over 40 progressive organizations for questions they wanted to ask candidates and have included the most poignant ones below. All USG Exec. Board ballot candidates were contacted for responses and we have listed what we have received. Thursday, March 8th, the PVC will listen to oral presentations from all participating candidates and make a public slate of endorsements for each position. Candidates were asked to keep their answers to a minimum of 2-3 sentences. Answers are divided by position and candidates are listed in alphabetical order by first name. The PVC is an AEC-confirmed coalition and has been in contact with the AEC to follow standards and rules.

How can more funding be given to Multicultural Council (MCC) and Gender and Sexuality Advisory Council (GSAC) organizations on campus? If so, what would this process look like for you? (Gender Exploration Society)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: The primary source of funding is by applying for a budget.  The Multicultural Council did a wonderful job of pushing the co-programming fund this year, planning events, and utilizing their funds.  It is my hope that because of this, their budgets will be increased. MCC and GSAC orgs can receive more funding by applying for the Co-Programming fund on orgsync and then giving a short presentation to the SBAC.  The Mushroom Trust Fund is also another option for one-time use projects bettering Tulane. Furthermore, reserve requests can always be made as well.

Do you support the USG initiative to remove the racist namesake of F. Edward Hebert? Do you support a push for Tulane to recognize legacies of oppression and to reclaim its racist history? What would this process look like to you? (Students Organizing Against Racism)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Yes for both questions.  Now that the legislation has gone through USG, GAPSA, University Senate, and brought to the administration.  We, as a student body, must continue to fight for the renaming of this building. We must continue in dialogue, ask questions, write letters, and push for the university to take action, because it is not right that this building remains on campus with this title.

When the “It’s okay to be white” signs were posted around Tulane’s campus, what was your initial reaction? How do you see this in representation of race relations on Tulane’s campus? (Students Organizing Against Racism)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: When those signs were posted, they deeply saddened me and upset me.  I was saddened to see the privilege and ignorance of students on this campus.  Those signs are hurtful, draw attention to the wrong issue, and created even more stress and tension in an environment that is already favoring and welcoming to white people on this campus.  They angered me because no repercussions were taken, so statements were made by the university, and those students never learned from their actions or saw what a truly hostile act it was.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, what do you think gun control should look like on Tulane’s campus? (Students for Justice in Palestine)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Tulane should keep its current Weapons Policy.  No student, employee, individuals, or anyone visitng campus should be allowed to have any type of weapon on this campus.  Tulane should continue to strictly enforce this and dole out the harshest punishment for breaking this.

Did you attend the Wave of Change Town Hall event? What do you think are the most crucial steps to reducing sexual violence on Tulane’s campus? What do you think were the shortcomings in the Wave of Change and climate survey initiatives?  What will you do to ensure the protection of survivors? (Muslim Students Association)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: I did attend the Wave of Change Town Hall.  Tulane is an at-risk environment. There needs to be attitude and behavior change on this campus.  More educational workshops need and must take place to created empowered and helpful bystanders. The Wave of Change and climate survey initiatives identified and illuminated the problem on Tulane’s campus, but no concrete action plan was devised or communicated.  To ensure the protection of survivors, I will do whatever I can as a human to approachable for people, and act as a supporter and advocator for students on this campus.

Do you think queer students at Tulane hesitate to come out of the closet? How can USG and Tulane help queer people feel more comfortable and visible? (Queer Student Alliance)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Yes.  Coming out is not easy for anyone and the privilege that is associated with being heterosexual makes it even more difficult, and sometimes dangerous.  USG and Tulane can help by providing workshops and spaces, increasing CAPS resources, expanding spaces like the O and gender neutral housing and bathrooms, encouraging people to introduce themselves with their pronouns, and letting individuals be themselves and express themselves in whatever ways they chose.

How do you feel about the current dialogue on campus regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Should any steps be taken to make this dialogue more inclusive? If so, what specific measures can you commit to enacting while in office?  (Students for Justice in Palestine)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: I think there isn’t enough dialogue on campus regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  If elected to office, I will continue to support clubs addressing this issue, help SJP gain active status and apply for a late budget, and use council chairs, orgsync, and the senate to reach more students.

What is the difference between diversity and anti-racism? If elected, how do you plan to use your leadership position in anti-racist efforts? (Students Organizing Against Racism)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Diversity is a buzz-word.  It doesn’t have any true meaning to how people are treated or what rights they have.  It means representation but it doesn’t even equate to having power. Anti-racism is deconstructing the system of white privilege and power, equalizing society and promoting minority groups to have the same opportunity and chance in life.  If elected, I will use my position in anti-racist efforts to educate the members of my council and the senate. I will increase the resources for clubs on this campus focused on anti-racist efforts whether that means working with them to get more funding, creating an easier process to start a club, allowing them to celebrate and operate however they please on this campus, and working with administrators and activists on this campus.

Some students feel that there is an unequal distribution of labor put onto marginalized students to address their own issues. If elected, how do you plan to address this precedent of tokenization? (Students Organizing Against Racism, Muslim Students Association)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Tokenization is common in the senate and by leaders on this campus.  I think something that can be done right away is having a CEA facilitation during the very first meeting, but also for every committee tailored for that group.  Having one for the SBAC was so useful in order for the individuals in that room to recognize our roles as gatekeepers and see how we tokenize and alienate people of color on this campus.  Tulane is a monochromatic environment, talking about the students and administrators. Addressing this issue as well is necessary because minority students are continuously tokenized and asked to represent and voice their needs.


What additional mental health services do we need on campus to supplement CAPS? What needs to change about the mental health culture on campus? (National Alliance on Mental Illness- 2017)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: I think CAPS should expand its hours, have more walk-ins, and offer couples therapy sessions to promote healthy relationships.  Furthermore, I think they should shorten the time it takes to get an appointment. Tulane should also offer transportation to off campus health appointments, recognizing the fault in resources it currently has.

How do you plan to support the expansion of reproductive health resources for students on and off campus? (Students United for Reproductive Justice )

Laura Anne Bartusiak: As VSPO, I will support student organizations and individuals in whatever way possible to expand reproductive health resources for students on and off campus.  I think the Mushroom Trust Fund is the perfect way to fund these projects, and I can reach out to organizations with this focus to help them with the application process and identify ways this money can be used for this purpose.

Have you attended the LGBTQ Ally Workshop or Trans 101? What LGBTQ events on campus have you attended? If not, will you commit to attending one in the Fall? (Queer Student Alliance, Gender Exploration Society)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Yes I have attended both workshops.  I attended a QSA meeting, HTO every year (and am performing this year!), and other events put on by the O.

Have you attended an Undoing Racism workshop in the past – if yes, when? How did it  change the way you act as a leader on campus? If you have not attended, will you commit to attending the Fall 2018 workshop? (Students Organizing Against Racism)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: I attended Fall 2015 and Fall 2017.  I will commit to attending again in Fall 2018.

What strategies do you plan to implement to make USG itself a more accessible place on campus, especially for groups historically marginalized by this institution? (Students Organizing Against Racism)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Currently, the SBAC is closed off to students-at-large to join.  I would like to make the administrative part of the council open so that anyone can sit in and listen to what is going on with student organizations on this campus and offer their input.  This, I believe, will make the council more accessible and it is an easy way to become involved with very little pressure or time commitment. Another issue I was working on with previous VPSL Trejo was giving the MCC and GSAC chairs voting power in the senate.  If I cannot achieve that this semester, I definitely want to do it next semester. I recognize the importance of those councils, and I wish they had more of a voice and power in the senate.

Why do you think the rates of sexual assault are so much higher for LGBTQ students? (Queer Student Alliance)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: Sexual education is awful in this country.  When addressed, it is almost always in terms of heterosexual language and couples.  Furthermore, when focusing on sexual assault issues, the focus is almost always on cis males and cis women.  The needs and issues of LGBTQ students are ignored on this campus as it is in places of academia. The language and education system needs to change so that more people are aware of what is actually happening, and they can begin to create change.

Do you have any plans to make Tulane’s campus more environmentally-friendly? If so, what are they? (Green Club)

Laura Anne Bartusiak: I think the USG uses too much paper in their senate meetings: printing out the legislation for all individuals.  Going paperless is costly, but I would like to see an alternative to this next year. Furthermore, I would like to see the reduction of plastic bags used on campus although I know this is another difficult task considering the partnerships with different businesses.

Do you believe that sexual violence prevention training (e.g. bystander intervention) should be mandatory for all students? (Tulane University Peer Health Educators)