2022-23 UT Student Government executive alliance candidates discuss platform points

Leila Saidane, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Feb. 25, 2022 in the flipbook.

UT students can vote starting Monday on who will represent them as student body president and vice president for the 2022-23 school year. 

The four pairs of executive alliance candidates are Albert Perez and Raymond Vasquez, Edwin Bautista and Addison Ptomey, Leland Murphy and Isabel Agbassi, and Samantha Burg and Thomas Vahalik. Students can vote at utexasvote.org from midnight on Monday, Feb. 28 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.

All four alliances gathered Monday night to compare platform points, debate topics from how to support students living in Riverside to sexual misconduct and to answer questions from the student body. Since the last elections, Student Government has dealt with articles of impeachment, executive member resignations and criticism over its lack of financial transparency

Samantha Burg and Thomas Vahalik: UT for Unity

Finance junior Burg and Vahalik, a health and society junior, said their alliance focuses on safety, transparency between SG and students, accessibility, sustainability, and sexual assault prevention.

“Some of our goals include providing school supplies at the UT Outpost, finding more ways to be green, installing ramps around campus, keeping all funds/documents easy to access and breaking mental health stigmas,” Burg and Vahalik said in an email. “It is impossible to overlook our large number of platform points. Realistically, it is impossible to accomplish every goal, but we have the determination and enthusiasm when the past semesters have contained quite little.”

Albert Perez and Raymond Vasquez: Students Who Give A Sh*t

Public relations junior Perez and business sophomore Vasquez said their platform has three pillars: improving the student experience, addressing issues within Greek life and empowering students. Perez said they plan to introduce a job market based curriculum, create partnerships with student organizations, increase student involvement in SG and increase student wages.

“We have to look inwards at the actual system that holds us up first,” Perez said. “For us to set the tone, in the beginning, is to address that awareness issue first, so that way students can be actively involved with what we are trying to do. That way we could also be able to get students’ input way better than previous administrations (have).”

Edwin Bautista and Addison Ptomey: Imagine UT Austin

Bautista, a community and regional planning graduate student, and Ptomey, a public affairs and community and regional planning graduate student, said their platform is based on the three pillars: people, planet and prosperity. Bautista said they fulfill these pillars through advocating for student wage increases, more affordable housing options and increased student access to University resources. 

“We advocate for the reduction of housing costs here on campus because (it is) a real barrier for a lot of students,” Bautista said. “We believe that our educational background is a big benefit because we’re able to understand some of the more nuanced issues that we are currently wanting to address.”

Leland Murphy and Isabel Agbassi: #ByTheHorns

Government junior Murphy and public health junior Agbassi’s platform is focused on increasing University worker wages and allocating SG funds to benefit students, Murphy said. 

“(Our platform) is dynamic and constantly being evolved and open to change,” Agbassi said. “Making sure that what we’re doing is actually relevant and matters … and if there are areas that we’re missing, we should be willing to accommodate for that really thoughtfully and intentionally.”