Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

SG candidates combat polarization with civil discourse

Anthony Mireles

Student Government executive alliance candidates Bryce Fuller and Vikram Sundaram are running on the platform of increasing respectful civil discourse on campus.

Fuller and Sundaram, both electrical engineering juniors, are running for SG president and vice president, respectively. They said their agenda aims to foster productive conversation to combat political and social polarization on campus.

“We’re running solely on the platform that we want to have intellectual and civil discourse to decide (campus) issues,” Fuller said.

The campaign is based on encouraging respectful free speech and making sure all students are empowered to speak their minds, Sundaram said.  

“This is literally about hearing people’s voices and listening to what they have to say so that we can help them and build solutions around their perspectives,” Sundaram said.

Over the past few years, students on campus have become increasingly divided along social and political lines, leading to conflict among groups, Fuller said. 

“We see this dangerous encroachment of mob mentality and groupthink, and I think that it’s both dangerous and counterproductive to unifying and making progress on our campus,” Fuller said.   

Fuller said their solution to polarization on campus is creating a space for student organizations to discuss campus issues on a regular basis.

“We want to have a night every week where everyone can come and we can talk about what’s happening on campus, like a coffee chat,” Fuller said. “You shouldn’t have to win the election of Student Government in order to be the one that makes change. We should have leaders who are willing to hear good advice when they see it.”

The team plans to create an ambassador program in which representatives from each student organization will attend the weekly coffee chat, Sundaram said.

“Essentially we’re mandating a way for them to reach out to us (and) establishing a direct line of communication,” Sundaram said. “The job of the executive is literally to help execute on the ideas and resolutions presented by people representing students on this campus.”

Aside from the weekly coffee chat with campus ambassadors, they are leaving their agenda open to student concerns, Sundaram said.

“To come in with an arbitrary agenda that’s not grounded in perspective would be foolish on our behalf,” Sundaram said. “If elected, we’d do anything in our power to help solve these problems, but first, it’s important to address that we need to hear from everyone on what the problems are.”

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SG candidates combat polarization with civil discourse