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Meet the Student Government Presidential Candidates

Anusha Mannam, left, and David Kwok are running to be student government president.

Mannam & Caballero

Courtesy of Anusha Mannam
Courtesy of Anusha MannamAnusha Mannam and Adriana Caballero

Junior Anusha Mannam said her experience with representing students will likely give her the edge as she hopes to become the next president of Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) in the upcoming election.

Mannam, a 21-year-old international studies and political science double major, has served on the University Senate and SGLC during her three years at Loyola and currently serves as a student representative on the Board of Trustees. Mannam, the current SGLC vice president, is running alongside junior Adriana Caballero.

Mannam and Caballero said their campaign platform is based on the Loyola student promise of care for self, others and community.

“We want to be held accountable and be transparent with what we have been campaigning for and where we’re at,” Mannam said.

Mannam said she and Caballero would ensure accountability with a “progress bar” which can be viewed by the student body. They also plan to hold office hours and collaborative dinners among students, faculty, administration and SGLC representatives.

Mannam said she hopes the #NotMyLoyola movement, which has gained traction recently after the arrest of Loyola student Alan Campbell and other accusations of racial profiling by Campus Safety, will bring a much-needed conversation to campus. She referenced the town hall meeting held by the movement March 1.

“What we’ve seen from events such as the town hall is that there’s … a clear lack of representation on campus and students aren’t feeling like they’re being represented or heard or included in some conversations and that’s an issue,” Mannam said. “It’s so important to hear each other out.”

University President Jo Ann Rooney announced the requirement of Campus Safety officers to wear body cameras, which will be in full effect by fall. Mannam said this is an important step forward but only the first of many.

“The conversation shouldn’t just end with body cams but seeing ‘Okay, what is the training [Campus Safety goes] through right now and how can we improve that?’” Mannam said. Caballero said Campus Safety and students should build a better relationship moving forward.

“I think the relationship between the campus police and the students should be a matter of trusting each other, and [within] the administration,” Caballero, an international studies major, said. “It’s a matter of being educated enough to know that we have to respect the rules.”

Mannam said increased awareness about campus issues, such as tuition and housing, is essential for better student life. She said students should understand their responsibility to educate themselves on campus events.

“I think that knowledge is power and although knowledge is power, it can’t be kept between the leadership of SGLC, it needs to be communicated to the students,” Mannam said. “If there’s issues that are found within that, that’s how we know we have to do better than just [hearing] through rumors.”

Mannam said recent housing issues should be approached with a combination of admitting less students and considering construction of new student housing. She said SGLC would serve as the connection between students and administration for housing issues.

“If elected, our role would be to communicate … the student concerns and see where this can improve and com- municate why this is an issue,” Mannam said.

Mannam thinks that a totally environmentally sustainable campus, as presented on the SGLC ballot this cycle, is possible, but it’ll take time to see realized.

Kwok & Kubiszewski

Courtesy of David Kwok
Courtesy of David KwokDavid Kwok, right, and Kacper Kubiszewski

David Kwok is an outsider looking to bring student government to the student body. His opponent for student president, junior Anusha Mannam, the current vice president, has been involved in student government all three years she’s been at Loyola.

While Kwok, 20, hasn’t been involved in Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC), he’s a business honors student involved in Loyola’s Interfraternity Council. He’s dedicated to his fraternity chapter of Beta Theta Pi, and he’s an economics and finance double major. Kwok is running alongside his fellow Beta Theta Pi brother, sophomore biology and English double major Kacper Kubiszewski.

Kwok’s platform centers on increasing accessibility, accountability and awareness of student government. He plans to hold office hours so he can meet with students face-to-face and hear their concerns. He also hopes to establish an SGLC committee solely dedicated to student outreach so more students become involved with voicing issues to student representatives.

“SGLC’s greatest weakness is its lack of ability to represent the student body,” the sophomore said.

Kwok said he would hold monthly forums to give students updates on what SGLC has been pursuing and enacting. Increasing diversity and inclusivity is also a core tenet of Kwok’s campaign, and he spoke about how he thinks better transparency between the student body, student government and the university could improve how students of minority groups feel on campus.

Touching specifically on the #NotMyLoyola movement — a student movement grown out of alleged racial profiling of black students on campus sparked by student Alan Campbell’s arrest by a Campus Safety officer last month — Kwok said it’d be beneficial for both the university and the organizers to communicate their views more openly.

“I think there needs to be a better floor for dialogue,” Kwok said.

Last week, Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney announced the use of body cameras for Campus Safety Officers by this fall in response to backlash over the Feb. 24 incident. She had intended to meet with some organizers March 12, but scheduling and selective invites led the organizers to cancel. She also announced a new training program for officers, as well as a task force to look into the incident.

Kwok said, while he supports these measures, he thinks the organizers need to be willing to meet the university halfway to get their demands met.

“Conflict is what drives progress,” Kwok said. “But if it’s only conflict and there’s isn’t any collaboration, nothing gets done.”

Kwok also said he thinks tuition money should be focused on directly benefiting students, whether that be increasing pay for professors to ensure they make living wages, increasing class sections or investing money to solve Loyola’s on-campus housing shortages.

“Students are the largest stakeholders,” Kwok said of university spending.

Last week, a coalition of part-time professors and non-tenured track faculty who’ve unionized on campus, threatened to strike April 4 if a deal with the university isn’t finalized. Since 2016, the union and Loyola have been negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.

Kwok said he’d support the strike if it comes to fruition.

As for Loyola’s sustainability efforts, Kwok said he thinks it’s a noble goal to pursue a campus that’s totally environmentally sustainable, but he said he would prefer waiting for the technology to become more fiscally feasible before Loyola completely cuts its carbon footprint.

Voting for SGLC elections opens March 22 and runs through March 25. Students can access the ballots through a message received in their Loyola emails.

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Closer Look Editor

Michael McDevitt is a senior journalism major from Quincy, Massachusetts and the Closer Look editor for The PHOENIX. He started out as a news writer for The PHOENIX in 2015, worked as an assistant news editor in 2016 and as news editor in 2017-18. When he's not editing stories, Michael's probably watching “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

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