Progressive Voter Coalition: Executive Board Candidates

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 2020-21 USG Executive Board candidates.

The questions in this document have been submitted by Asian American Student Union (AASU), Muslim Student Association (MSA), and Tulane College Democrats. They are separated into two categories: mandatory and supplemental questions. The mandatory questions were selected by the co-chairs of the coalition and were considered by the PVC to be applicable to most clubs. The supplemental questions are more specific and reference the interests of particular organizations. While only the mandatory questions are required to receive an endorsement, answering any of the supplemental questions would was appreciated by the committee. Below are the answers from all candidates the PVC received submission from.

Mandatory Questions

How well do you think the representative body of USG accurately models the make-up of the present and/or future of the Tulane undergraduate body? How do you plan to address this?

Michael Chen: I do believe that the current body of USG, especially among Senators, has a better representation than the current student body of the Tulane that we want to become. However, that does not mean that we should be stagnant in creating an even more diverse and engaged student government. USG should be a place where all voices can be heard, and I will certainly take measures to address this in next year’s Finance Committee. For example, I will make sure that committee members are representative of different backgrounds and identities to allow for inclusive discussion during finance discussions. Including these more diverse voices will allow underrepresented individuals and groups to have a greater say in the proceedings of Finance Committee and increase the multitude of identities at work on Tulane’s campus.

Reagan McKinney: Currently USG has lots of work to do be representative of the current student body population and if change doesn’t occur USG won’t be representative in the future either. As EVP, I will be creating a USG where students feel as though they are always welcome in the space, since its whiteness and cis-heteronormativity often deter students from joining. I will create new leadership positions to cater to underrepresented groups, so that they can have a space in USG as well.

Jamie Roa: The make up of the USG body does not model the make-up of the present and/or future of the Tulane undergraduate student body. There are too many people from white upper-middle class backgrounds that do not reflect Tulane and its future. We need more student voices from different parts of campus and different backgrounds. To address this, I will personally reach out to MCC organizations and ask them if I could attend one of their general body meetings. If invited, I would talk to students and encourage them to apply to be senators, committee heads, liaisons, etc. I want to express that their involvement in USG will help create a safer space on campus. Directly involving MCC will allow for more equitable solutions to issues on this campus. We need the involvement of MCC organizations in USG in order to make USG look more represented of the Tulane current and future population.

Ingeborg Hyde: While I believe that certain initiatives USG has accomplished in recent years, such as the creation of new positions and committees that have helped increase representation for more student groups, has helped increase its diversity and has helped get more students from more walks of life and campus to the body, there is definitely more work to be done. I think there is definitely an under-representation of marginalized students in USG; I believe this stems from the fact that most students, including those who belong to marginalized communities, see the predominantly “undiverse” make-up of USG and believe their voices will not be heard. I plan to address this by partnering with other leaders in USG and communicating with members of marginalized groups that their voices want and need to be heard.

Deja Wells: I don’t think that USG accurately models the present or future Tulane undergraduate body. I plan to have an event called senator for a day. This event will be held three times a semester to make sure that if students would like to join USG they are prepared for what it entails. Also, it could allow students to have access to USG when it comes to the issues that they have. Considering that the Freshman Leadership Program is deemed to be the pipeline into USG. I would like to incorporate a more inclusive process for constituents.

What is the direct issue on campus the candidate plans to address in the case that they are elected, and what are their connections to the issue and their goals to address and/or resolve it?

Michael Chen: While many issues exist pertaining to Finance Committee and increasing sociocultural diversity at Tulane, the most dire issue on campus I plan to address is the disproportionate lack of funding allocated to multicultural organizations. By selecting a more diverse set of members to sit on Finance Committee, I plan to increase representation on the Committee for groups that often do not have a say in its proceedings. Additionally, I hope to respond to student feedback in a survey sent out to all clubs to better understand the needs of my constituents, specifically those that are underrepresented on campus. This plan will serve to remedy this gap and can only evolve through my term as Vice President for Finance.

Reagan McKinney: One issue on campus that I plan to address is student access to USG. As EVP my job is to ensure that USG is a place where all students feel welcome. Right now, to interact with USG a student has to have connection to the organization that can help them out their foot in the door, which is difficult, but even more difficult for marginalized students. Not only will I have USG office hours moved to pocket park, I will also work with the rest of the executive board to include more marginalized students in the initiatives that USG champions.

Jamie Roa: I want to work with students to find solutions to the lack of retention of students of color on our campus. I think it is absurd that we have programs that bring students of color to Tulane, but we do nothing to keep them here. Using my resources as your next VPSL, I will connect with MCC organizations and meet with community leaders to perceive solutions. I will then connect us to different departments, mainly the Student Affairs office and the Admissions Office, to present our plans to how to keep students of color on this campus. With this position in USG, I want to use it to build bridges and connect students and faculty. I want to be able to help students and hear a multitude of ideas and solutions and then be able to connect those students to others on this campus to make their ideas a reality. I am a mixed student on this campus and it was very hard for me to find my space. Tulane did things to get me here but once I was here, I felt alone and in the dark. Students, just like me, feel this every day and Tulane is doing nothing about it. It is horrible the retention rate of students of color on this campus and I pledge, as your next VPSL, to make this a priority during my term.

Ingeborg Hyde: If elected, the main issue I plan to work on will be helping to foster a learning environment in which each and every member of the Tulane community can thrive, including faculty, administrators, but especially students. While the ultimate goal of this effort is to increase classroom engagement and overall satisfaction of Tulane’s academic system, I believe that there are many factors outside of the classroom that contribute to the success of a student. For instance, I know that when my mental health is not at its prime, my grades can suffer. I want to help strengthen programs and resources that are already set in place, such as mental health resources that will allow each student to reach their full academic and personal potential.

Deja Wells: If I were to become USG President I would like to work on the equity within our campus. Seeing that I am a student of low socioeconomic status, I have felt the direct effects of inequity on this campus when it comes to the distribution of resources. My goal to address this issue to work directly with the administration to implement the Equity Fee or another solution that is as creative.

How do they plan to outreach members of the Tulane student body either not currently involved in the affairs of student government or not well represented in the student body?

Michael Chen: My tenure as Vice President for Finance will be focused around providing representation to students who do not currently have a large say in USG and the Tulane community. To accomplish this goal, I will begin my term by sending out a survey to all the presidents and treasurers of student organizations to ensure that all organizations are able to input their ideas and concerns for Finance Committee in the coming year. I would use this feedback to alter committee procedure to be more accommodating as well as more uniquely tailor budget meetings for specific organizations. From these modifications, even more progress will be possible as new difficulties emerge and are directly addressed for the betterment of marginalized and underrepresented voices on campus.

Reagan McKinney: My platform is based on an accessible and inclusive USG. As EVP I will be working on USG meeting students where they are at. That means on McAlister,(even when it’s not election period) and on social media. Then, I will be looking to underrepresented organizations to bring in people to be a part of USG in low stress positions, so that we can hear these issues and address them and represent students that are not already represented.

 

Jamie Roa: As VPSL, I plan to reach out to organizations themselves and go to their meetings. During their meetings, I would invite them to vent to me their frustration about USG. Hearing their concerns, I will be able to perceive solutions. Whether it be appointing them to a position within USG or connecting them to other resources on campus that will allow them to make their ideas for a better campus a reality. I will also go to club meetings and talk about the opportunities for applying for cabinet and committee potions within USG as well as Senator races. I will also stress the fact that, most, of our committees are open and they are more than welcome to come and participate. I will also make sure that my job as VPSL is focused on students. I want this position to be one where I connect with students, hear their initiative ideas, and then connect them to different resources in USG and on campus to make sure they and see their idea through.

Ingeborg Hyde: In my opinion, USG is predominantly composed of the most involved students on campus; while these students are doing great work and have shown to be very passionate about improving Tulane in various ways, I think USG leaders should make more of an effort to invite those who are not the “conventional” leaders on campus to the table. I plan to address this by reaching out and encouraging all students, but specifically students of color, transgender students, and queer students to be involved in USG in any capacity; I think it is crucial to emphasize to each and every Tulane student, but especially those in marginalized groups, that they are important, needed, and more than capable of making a change on campus!

Deja Wells: I would like to work alongside some of the new executives in USG that want to make a newsletter as well as moving out office hours to a pocket park. As well as dropping into different organizations meetings, going to events that different organizations, and trying to co-program with organizations that USG doesn’t normally co-program with.

What does humanistic collective organizing mean to you?

Michael Chen: To me, humanistic collective organizing means finding empowerment in the combined advocacy of a group. As an executive member of USG, I will strive to uplift all marginalized voices who are attempting to organize. I will take the time to listen to their stories and assist them in any way that they request. Humanistic collective organizing also heavily relies upon the strength in prioritizing humanitarian aspects of an issue, so I intend to allow these marginalized voices to lead these collaborative efforts. As Vice President for Finance, I will use my position to promote collective humanistic organizing and promote an atmosphere of acceptance for changemakers of diverse backgrounds both within Finance Committee and at Tulane University.

Reagan McKinney: Humanistic collective organizing, is the best form of organization. It allows for people to engage with each other in ways that recognize that they are more than just cogs to push out product, but also people with lives and ideas and emotions. And as EVP, by simplifying Robert’s Rules of Order, I am hoping to create a space that sees more than just efficiency but also humanity.

Jamie Roa: Humanistic collective organizing means to me that you always have the best interest of the people in mind making decisions. This means that you must take it upon yourself to realize how your actions and decisions will impact people, especially marginalized  groups. When organizing and making decisions, you must have everyone’s interest in mind. During my term as your VPSL, I will make sure I consult with my constituents before moving forward in any decisions I made to ensure everyone knows what is happening and that no one is harmed in the process.

Ingeborg Hyde: To me, this is organizing in a way that emphasizes the idea that each person is capable and deserving of achieving their full potential and maximizing their well-being- physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Deja Wells: Humanistic collective organizing is when people come together around a common goal while valuing each other’s humanity, and trying to work through white supremacy seeing that a lot of organizing can fall into that trap.

How will you help to create an environment which supports student government transparency, accountability, and social issue-oriented collaboration?

Michael Chen: Even though I am a current member of Finance Committee, I believe that we can still improve our relationship with the student body. This issue is integral to my platform, and I hope to demonstrate these efforts by pushing for more detailed committee notes to be available to the student body and spending more time meeting with leaders of student organizations. With more detailed committee notes, we can give clubs more knowledge behind Finance Committee proceedings and keep Finance Committee members more accountable for its funding actions. By providing the means for student organizations and students in general to understand Finance Committee and its doings, I hope to open the door for a wider and positive discussion in Finance Committee about the accountability the Committee has to ethical funding.

Reagan McKinney: As EVP, I would oversee the USG Secretary, Historian, and Director of Communication. I would work alongside these people to keep the student body updated on what USG is doing and what stances USG is taking on social issues. USG will no longer be able to hid behind its bureaucracy and instead will be required to stand behind each decision that it makes.

 

Jamie Roa: I will mandate everyone in USG participate in a CEA facilitation. I believe it is important for everyone to know their biases and their privilege identities when entering any space. CEA facilitations will allow for USG participants to do so. With transparency, I will work with the EVP to send out a newsletter updating the student body about what decisions are being made. Like previously stated, I want to reach out to MCC organizations to have them more involved in USG and the decisions being made. I will also continue the practice of having all legislation being brought to DIEC to make sure each piece of legislation is equitable.

Ingeborg Hyde: I believe that this optimal environment occurs when a space is filled with passionate and genuine leaders who truly want to make a difference on campus. I plan to not only keep myself accountable for completing my job to the best of my ability, but I plan to keep those in the room accountable as well; however, I cannot cultivate this environment alone. I will have to trust that other executive board members and other student leaders who were elected or appointed have not their own, but their constituents’ best interests at heart.

 

Deja Wells: First and foremost I believe that the student government needs mandatory culture competency training in order for it to become a welcoming environment for social issue-oriented collaboration. I also want to create a system that will hold the senators accountable for the platforms that they run on, and I would like to work on this with the Executive Vice President. We have a big turn around on senators as well as senators not following through with the platforms that they run. Considering I have access to a lot of spaces that students don’t have access to, I would like to create reports where I am able to share information with senator, and then the senators can share that report with their constituents.

 

In your opinion, why is Tulane not as racially diverse as its peer institutions?

Michael Chen: Tulane, in the past, has struggled to address its racist roots. Along with that, some of the institutions on campus that support minorities are not as well funded as they could be. This has created a climate that is unfriendly to minorities of color, especially that of black students, which has led to low retention rates among those groups. Despite these explicit issues, Tulane continues to falter in its policy for addressing racism and dedicates an insufficient amount of resources to the issue. Part of this issue does stem from Finance Committee, and sometimes the body fails to advocate fully for multicultural organizations. This trend is incredibly unfortunate and something that I hope to remedy as the next Vice President for Finance.

Reagan McKinney: Tulane is not as racially diverse as its peer institutions because though it admits large amounts of students, Tulane doesn’t have the infrastructures to support these students and also has made very few efforts to get the required infrastructure.

Jamie Roa: Tulane is not as racially diverse as its peer institutions because we do not have programs that keep students of color here. We are finally reforming our admissions process to actually not just go to the whitest suburb of Chicago to recruit students and call that “geographical diversity”. We are finally expanding our admissions and not just talking to rich white private schools. But, we are still not diverse, and thats because we do not have programs or resources on campus for our marginalized students once they get here. Tulane fails to keep students here. We need a complete reform of this way of life. We need students involved in this process and as your VPSL, i promise to do just that.

 

Ingeborg Hyde: I believe Tulane is not as racially diverse as its peer institutions because it is not financially accessible to many students; more often than not, students who are academically qualified, but cannot pay to attend Tulane, are students of color. While past and current statistics are disheartening, I am hopeful that the Office of Admissions will continue accepting and making it possible for more and more students of color to attend Tulane as so many great things happen when diversity is celebrated and people learn from others who are different from them in any way.

Deja Wells: Tulane is not as racially as diverse as its peer institutions because of Tulane’s cost, and racial minorities’ lack of access to education that can prepare them for and an institution like Tulane. Even if they are then prepared they lack the money needed to be able to attend Tulane. On top of that Tulane’s retention of racial minorities is not up to par either because of the lack of resources for racial minority students once they get here.

 

What plans do you have to make funding processes for smaller organizations easier?

Michael Chen: I plan on making the funding process for smaller organizations easier by continuing the small hearing process. The number of students in a club does not diminish the contribution that that club can bring to the Tulane community. Any club is able to submit however large a programming request they desire, and Finance Committee is obligated to discuss those requests in an impartial manner. As long as the requests are well thought out and properly planned, clubs should be able to get the programming funds they need disregarding their size. However, Finance Committee should encourage smaller clubs to grow with more funding and support as time goes on. Larger clubs, those of which have been around longer, do have the advantage of better knowing the Finance process and other institutional knowledge regarding USG. As a result, I will strive to spend more time helping newer, smaller clubs throughout the year to prepare and discuss their finance requests.

Reagan McKinney: As EVP I will be working with the VPF to publicize how the budget process should work so that smaller organizations have a tighter grasp on how to be a part of that process. I will also work with the VPF to create a guidebook for organizations about how to get the most money out of USG. This would include what exactly the finance committee is looking for when it comes to budget recommendations and programming requests, so that organizations are prepared.

Jamie Roa: I will personally go to those smaller organizations and meet with their executive board and help them write a budget. Unfortunately, as your VPSL I will not have direct influence over budgets but I can offer my support and insight on the process to help smaller organizations write and advocate for their budget. I will also inform them of opportunities to get more money from USG when the time occurs.

Ingeborg Hyde: As someone who has recently been a part of the process of applying for funding for a new, female-empowering organization on campus, I completely understand the frustration and setbacks that come with applying for a new budget. Speaking from my personal experience, I know how hard it can be for a new club/organization to sustain itself without funding during its provisional status period. I hope to work with the newly-elected VPSO to see how the process can be improved to be more fair, realistic, and straightforward.

 

Deja Wells: When it comes to the finance process, I want to scrap our system and start to look at peer and non-peer institutions to see what they’re doing right to help fix what we’re doing wrong.

 

Supplemental Questions

What action plans do they have to better provide a more inclusive, engaged, and sustainable student government?

Jamie Roa: As your next VPSL I plan on meeting directly with student organization leaders to order to make them apart of the decision-making process. More importantly, I will ensure that organizations apart of the MCC are directly engaged with USG and have a direct pipeline to make decisions, voice concerns, and propose legislation. I would also require CEA training for every member of USG in order to provide a more inclusive space. For sustainability, we are trying to move from paper legislation to online legislation so that paper will not be wasted.

What have the candidates done so far in their time at Tulane to be considered deserving to represent, advocate, and respond to the Tulane student body – especially marginalized populations?

Jamie Roa – During my time at Tulane I have been apart of many organizations and departments on campus that allow me to lead in the role as VPSL. I am the I am the VP of outreach for TuGente where I connect with other members of the Tulane and New Orleans community to plan cultural and speaker events. I also work in the Center of Public Service as a Service Learning Assistant. During my time at CPS, I have been through numerous CEA facilitation and was even trained to administer and lead an “entering communities” workshop. My interactions with students and my leadership involvements at Tulane prepared me for the role as VPSL. I am prepared to fight for every student on this campus, especially those who have been left out of this space for so long.

How do they think student advocacy, agency, and voice is valued with Tulane administration?

Jamie Roa: The Tulane administration loves to hear from students about things they see wrong on this campus, however, if they do decide to act upon it the students rarely get credit. For example, the recent email sent out by the administration for Ramadan accommodations did not mention the students who have been working on that for years. It is inconsiderate and rude of the administration to take credit for the work of students, specifically marginalized students. As your VPSL I pledge to always stand up for students when meeting with administration and to make sure they do not take credit for work that they did not do.

How can Tulane join the fight against mass incarceration?

Jamie Roa: Tulane can join the fight against mass incarceration by carrying out initiatives like the Newcomb Prison Project. Tulane needs to also increase voter initiative drives on campus. For example, last election cycle when unanimous juries were on the ballot, Tulane students were tabling trying to inform students about this decision and encourage them to vote. We need to go even further. I want to have voter drives during orientation to get new students signed up to vote. I then want to have voter drives the day of elections. I want to have a space where students can gather before and walk over together to vote. This will encourage students to walk together and vote. For mass incarceration, Tulane needs to speak out publicly against the practice and invest in organizations, like the Newcomb Prison Project, and work with the city and the state to propose measures to prevent a prison pipeline and mass incarceration.

Why are y’all only interested in talking to black people and our issues during election time?

Jamie Roa: Tulane has an issue of only talking to certain populations when it is convenient to them. It is truly horrific. Tulane needs to prioritize their marginalized students all the time, not just when its convenient to them. It hurts every student when Tulane ignores the most marginalized group. If Tulane truly cares about diversity and inclusion, then they would care about black students at Tulane all the time, not just when its convenient to them.

What stance will you take if Betsy DeVos’s proposed changes to Title IX (i.e. Tulane only being liable for sexual assaults happening on campus, live hearings and cross-examinations, etc.) come into law? How will you as a USG representative encourage the administration to shift or not shift in response to these changes?

Jamie Roa: I will actively oppose the measures proposed by DeVos. I will meet with the Title IX coordinator, Meredith, and speak with her along side Dean Woodley about the measures Tulane needs to take in order to protect its students. I will encourage Tulane to come out against the measure and propose its own internal changes. I will encourage Tulane to update its own Title IX in order to fit what it was before the change.

Ingeborg Hyde: Seeing an inequitable change to Title IX that will ultimately discourage victims of sexual assault from coming forward will be very upsetting. As a student leader, I would work to highly encourage the University to follow the procedures and guidelines it currently has set in place.

 

How do you see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict manifest on campus? How should it change/be better?

Jamie Roa: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict manifests on campus as a one-sided argument focused on Israel as the victim, which it totally untrue. Many students on this campus link anti-zionism with anti-Semitism, which is, again, totally untrue. What needs to be done is education. There needs to be a narration that Justice for Palestine does not mean anti-Semitism. Students for justice for Palestine needs to be given the same platform in our institution as those who side with Israel.

 

What is your stance on Tulane’s investments in organizations that violate human rights? Should those partnerships be divested from? What would that look like?

Jamie Roa: Tulane should divest from organization involved in human rights abuses. Tulane needs to look at all the organizations it is involved in and realize its connections with human rights abuses. For example, Tulane’s involvement with Israel is problematic, and they need to realize that their involvement in a country that is involved in human rights abuses needs to be addressed. Divesting would look like removing itself from those involvement.

What are white students’ roles in anti-racist work?

Jamie Roa: It is the responsibility of the white students, not the students of color, to attend anti-racist workshops. White students need to participate in anti-racist work in order to understand their biases and their privilege in this space and in this society.

 

Ingeborg Hyde: I believe white students have an obligation to acknowledge their privilege and the benefits they receive from systems and structures that oppress other people.

Discuss the role of intersectionality in your personal life.

Jamie Roa: I am a mixed student at Tulane. Its hard. I sometimes need to pick my identities in certain spaces. And as a woman with my mixed identity, I am seen different from my white peers. I want to be able to lead my life with both my identities, but its very hard to do so.

Who should USG look to improve diversity on campus? What offices are best trusted?

Jamie Roa: We should both consult the student affairs office, academic affairs office and the office of admissions. Student affairs to see what we can do to provide resources to help students of color on this campus. We will work with the academic affairs to provide academic resources for our marginalized students. Finally, we will work with the office of undergraduate admissions to create programs for first year and second year students in order for them to feel more welcomed here. And of course, working with the O and the center for academic equity. We should all work together to provide resources for our marginalized students and create a place for them that fosters equity and prosperity.

Ingeborg Hyde: I believe leaders in USG can and should work more closely with two offices when looking to improve diversity on campus: The Carolyn Barber Pierre Center for Intercultural Life and The Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It goes without saying that leaders who work in The O know exactly how to tackle the challenges that arise when improving diversity on campus; therefore, collaborating more with the O is essential. I also think the office of admissions would naturally need to be involved in the conversation. As much as current Tulanians/USG members may work to encourage students from all walks of life to visit and apply to Tulane, admissions counselors are organizationally the only people who can help increase the admitted number of students who come from diverse backgrounds.

What are some effective ways to better promote a culture of consent on campus and continue education throughout college? How can current initiatives working on this be combined and empowered through USG?

Jamie Roa: We need to do more initiatives based on sex education. It is apparent that many students do not come here with a knowledge of consent and safe sex. Current initiatives with STI testing and free plan B should be mentioned in newsletters and during orientation. We need to invest in education and promotion of safe sex policies and consent. I believe it should be integrated into orientation even more than it is. We talk about the climate survey, but we don’t talk about the measures we are doing to prevent assault post-climate survey.

Why do you think Tulane’s voter turnout is so low? What efforts will you make to improve it?

Jamie Roa: Tulane’s voter turnout is so low because students do not care about New Orleans. They do not care about politics here, which is horrible. I believe if we educate students about the issues here and why they need to vote, we could encourage voter turnout. Also, having a voter bloc party would also encourage people. Having events on the LBC quad with food and music will encourage students to come, and then we would walk over in groups to the polling places. We need to engage students in local New Orleans politics from the second they get here or else they are not going to care.

Will you commit to continue funding voter registration initiatives such as TurboVote?

Jamie Roa: I will continue to fund voter registration initiatives but I would also do more. I want to educate students about our voter ID laws and how to register to vote with a whole campaign at the begging of each semester. This campaign will include tabling on McAlister to help students register and then also social media presence to educate students how to register and what to bring to the polls. For me, its all about education.

Ingeborg Hyde: Continuing to fund voter registration initiatives, especially TurboVote, seems like a no brainer. Funding a resource that helps students navigate the difficulties that can come with voting, such as applying for an absentee ballot, in a place that is not their home is invaluable in my opinion.

What role do you see Tulane playing in combatting climate change, especially given our ties to the oil and gas industry? How would you influence the administration to take a more proactive role?

Jamie Roa: Tulane is adding in the destruction of our planet, even if they say they’re not. They need to recognize that their involvement in the fossil fuel industry costs our planet more than they know it. I would influence the administration by meeting with them and presenting the facts. I want to make sure they know what they are involved in and ways to get out. I am not well versed in this subject, so I will connect with students who are and have them lead the initiative to divest Tulane.

Do you feel that Tulane is accessible for students with disabilities? If not, what will you do to make our campus more accessible?

Jamie Roa: Tulane is not accessible. There are many buildings that do not have accommodations and its ableist. I want to work with the administration to make improvements on our campus by installing ramps and re-doing buildings to make them more accessible. It cannot be done overnight, but we can start the movement.

 

Why do you think there are low retention rates of students of color on Tulane’s campus?

Jamie Roa: There is a low retention rate of students of color on campus because there are not initiatives to help them in a place thats not for them. There are many programs to bring students of color to Tulane, but none to keep them here. Tulane needs to invest in its students of color by providing programs that allow them to feel safe and welcomed on campus. As your VPSL I will make sure leaders and members of MCC organizations are at the front of that movement. It is important for the university to know our feelings and its important that they make this change now.

 

There have been many complaints about the problematic nature of student engagement in local New Orleans communities through service-learning programs. How do you intend to improve city-student relations, and what are some ideas of yours to improve service-learning programs?

Jamie Roa: I currently work at the Center of Public Service and it is my job to make sure Tulane students are aware of their actions in the community. First, i think its important for Tulane to open its doors to students from New Orleans and welcome them. I want to make it mandatory for students to engage in CEA facilitation before entering the community. Right now, they are recommended but I want to make them mandatory. Second, I want there to be a session at orientation that tells the truth about Tulane and its history with the city. As your next VPSL, I want to make sure that Tulane students understand their privilege coming from Tulane and going into the city. I also want there to be a dialogue of truth between students and the institution and its relation with the community. First, there needs to come truth and realization of privilege and then there could be change.

Ingeborg Hyde: As a native New Orleanian, this is an issue that I am very passionate about and have many ideas for addressing. I definitely feel that our service-learning program can be improved. It is so upsetting to witness students put little to no effort when working with organizations that oftentimes rely so heavily on the work that Tulane students should be putting in. I think that students should not just be given credit simply according to whether or not a piece of paper says they completed a certain amount of hours, but whether the community partner thinks a student satisfactorily completed their service.

 

Another initiative that I have been working on since my sophomore year is a campaign called Thank You, NOLA.  Every year, as May rolls around, seniors find themselves turning their tassels, saying goodbye to lifelong friends, and leaving behind their undergraduate worries; however, they are also leaving behind furniture, sanitary products, and trash for the people of New Orleans to pick up.

 

I am a firm believer in the idea that when someone allows you into their home, you should leave it better than you found it. Instead, Tulane students are showing a complete disregard for the city they called “home” for (most) four years. These students are doing the City of New Orleans a disservice by not properly disposing of trash and leaving reusable items to be thrown away. This careless practice has become a public health issue. Uptown residents have expressed that the trash left on curbs of students’ homes causes them distress; neighbors feel anxious due to the uncleanliness of the community. Making matters worse, they see items that could easily be reused in under-resourced parts of the city and the world. When I served as an RA in Irby, I saw mountains of trash next to the overflowing dumpsters that students left before moving out. There were perfectly good cabinets, mattresses, and even a humidifier that I know could go to good use. The campus looked like a war zone. Tulane did not look like the place where great leaders are born, where service to the community is a must, and where the preservation of the planet for future generations is a priority. Through this campaign, I plan to attempt to reduce waste and litter. I also want to educate students about better ways to dispose of unwanted items at the end of every school year.