Transcript: Student Association hopefuls James Franco and Angie Pati sit down with The Daily Orange Editorial Board
Courtesy of James Franco
Editor’s note: The Daily Orange Editorial Board interviewed both presidential and vice presidential candidate pairs in the running for the Student Association’s 61st session. In an effort to provide transparency in the Editorial Board’s endorsement decision, The D.O. has published the transcript of each interview. The following interview is edited for clarity.
The Daily Orange Editorial Board: What do you believe are the biggest issues currently facing student life at Syracuse University and how do you plan to address them?
James Franco: So I think this too, and they kind of complement each other in the sense that they’re interrelated but also kind of match with what Angie and I are experienced and passionate about. So one is safety, and that’s kind of been in the news a lot in the past year, the past couple of years. Some students … have kind of lost that peace of mind, whether you’re returning back from the library, team room working with friends, hanging out with friends at popular off-campus locations like the Euclid area down near Comstock and Madison. So that’s kind of why we have safety as a pillar, and why one of our big ideas is the Euclid shuttle, like an Orange trolley, to facilitate that safer transportation … And then also just putting in other things that have come to light in the past year, so whether it be target hardening on campus and off-campus neighborhoods, which is just a fancy word used by law enforcement to brush back hedges, increase lighting, which is shown to effectively and efficiently reduce crime. And then the other big thing, and Angie can talk about that, is health and mental health.
Angie Pati: So health and advocacy is a huge part of our platform, and within that — those are broad terms — so we split that up into general health, sexual health, mental health and advocacy for victims of sexual assault. Something specific that we’d really like to see implemented is a peer listening service, which is basically like a crisis text hotline that’s specific to Syracuse University. In the meanwhile, while we’re working on that if we were elected, there’s also a national text hotline that we could employ which is free and wonderful. But basically it’s called a peer listening service, and an individual will go through — if you want to become a peer listener — a 12-week training process to become a peer listener. And you get trained on how to respond to someone who needs you in a confidential, unbiased manner, just trained appropriately so that when someone’s in need they can reach out to someone. And it doesn’t have to be a time of crisis, it could be like, “I’m really stressed and I’d really like to vent and I just don’t feel like talking to my roommate right now, I don’t really feel like talking to my best friend right now, I just need someone on this campus.” So something specific to Syracuse University that could kind of combat the discrepancies and deficiencies of the Counseling Center. The Counseling Center’s wonderful, but it is understaffed. We’d also like to see a mental health advisory council put into place that has student leaders, whether it’s the president of Active Minds, the president of (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), someone within Student Association working with people like Cory Wallack (director of the Counseling Center).
And also, additionally, really working on how misinformation is combated on this campus. When you first get to school, kind of within the First-Year Forum program, having a streamlined PowerPoint presentation. Nothing super fancy within the First-Year Forum program that has a very streamlined kind of way for you to access your resources. So whether that’s you know, we contact the Department of Public Safety and we’re like, if you’re a first-year student on this campus and you need help, or if you’re a third-year student on this campus and you need help, what would you recommend. And having a 15-minute presentation within the First-Year Forum program going along with our theme of proactivity, and having that in place before it needs to be in place. And then emailing that out so that this presentation is accessible throughout the year.
And I would also say, in addition to safety and mental health, another huge things that we think is important is advocating for marginalized groups on this campus, which we would really, really like to see in place, kind of combat that by having a multicultural or diversity committee within Student Association. Which we think would be great, because first of all you would have a ton of different, wonderful, a diverse group of leaders who have different perspectives and experiences working together to collaborate among themselves, but then also offering that representation to Student Association, so that Student Association isn’t kind of seen as this place that has a ton of walls up and is kind of inaccessible in a lot of different senses. So having this multicultural committee that has individuals from … to the Black Leadership Network, who has Korean Students Association, president of the Muslim Student Association — not limited to that — who has students who feel marginalized on this campus who want to voice and work together and also offer that representation to Student Association, so that Student Association can accurately work on initiatives that work for them. Because if you don’t have that representation, then you can’t work for them, you don’t know what’s going on.
J.F.: And not to say that the other parts of our platform, obviously, aren’t important — because obviously, you asked for the most important — we just think that those are the ones that, you know, it’s hard to worry about your next test, hanging out with friends, if you can’t get to the Counseling Center until two weeks, or your friend was strong-armed robbed on the way home. So those are the things that you have to have — kind of baseline — before you can enjoy the other things in Syracuse, whether it be a social or academic experience.
The D.O. Editorial Board: What experiences have you had that would aid you in leading SA?
J.F.: I’ve been in SA for a little bit. I often say SA experience can be overrated. I feel like people can tout that too much. But I think in the place that it can help, especially this year, you know where there’s a lot of hoops to jump through at this university, especially even within SA. So being in every kind of part of that organization, working through how do you get things done, how do you bring different groups of people together, instead of just trying to railroad your way to it. … And I think also being within SA, you learn how to work with administrators. We are the liaison of the students to speak with the students, but at the end of the day to get something done you have to work with administrators. So knowing how that process goes, what they like, which administrators you go to for certain things. For example, for the midterm library hours initiative, that started the first week of school the fall semester, so reaching out, setting that baseline with the dean. He wanted quantitative research that students wanted it. He had an inkling, too, that this would be a cool pilot. But he wanted research and that took about a month, two months to do that. And once we had the research done, you have to go through meetings to say, “All right, what does this mean, what should we do it with?” And eventually getting to the nuts and bolts of putting the initiative into place: the money transfers, how do you go about getting money with promotion, and then host the pilot, reevaluating it and then bringing it back for next year. I think that’s just one example of how we would go through each of these things … So like we said, everyone’s going to toss around a lot of buzzwords, but then the big part is putting tangible initiatives beneath them, and then even beyond that, how do you put processes so those can be carried out. I think that Angie and I, with our experiences from different parts of campus, can help put those tangible, concrete initiatives beneath it, but also have the experience of knowing how to navigate this university so that they can become real.
A.P.: Exactly what James said, he has incredible experience in Student Association, and I’ve never been in Student Association before, but I have been heavily involved in campus and internationally. So I’m trying to think of one specific thing that will help me, but I really think that every little thing, whether it’s working with a non-profit in Africa, you learn when people feel marginalized and scared — that’s not isolated to Africa; there are people on our campus right now who feel like that — whether it’s doing research on malaria, working on things that are underrepresented, things that people don’t talk about, that can be applicable to Student Association. I’ve never been in Student Association, but I believe in the power of it. Whether it’s being in Phi Sig, my honors fraternity, and seeing the wonderful benefits of professional Greek life, but then also the discrepancies between and the lack of communication between professional Greek life, multicultural Greek life and your traditional Panhellenic sororities and things of the sort. I would say my broad experience does bring a fresh take on a lot of different things, which is really great, because if I come to James with a kind of obscure idea on how to actually implement something, he can tell me an actual avenue that we can go about doing that. Which I think is really awesome and we make a great team in that.
J.F.: She hit upon it too, I’ve said this before, Angie’s vast outside experience helps with … because when you get into SA you tend to put the blinders on, look at things through an SA lens. I’ve tried to be conscious of that, but I’ve also been a victim of that same thing myself. … Having Angie there will not only make that conscious in my mind, but also her outside experience will be even more so helpful in that everything that she does in all these different groups, she can definitely say, I know you’ve been in SA, but that’s not really how a (Recognized Student Organization) views this kind of action, they view it as you may think you’re helping, but you’re just adding more red tape. Whatever it may be, having that kind of complementary experience, I think would be really helpful if we were to be elected.
A.P.: And I think that the fact that we do place value on experience makes us realize that combined we don’t have the entire experience of the student body. That’s impossible. Which makes us all the more motivated to reach out to other students to have different perspectives, because we do value those different experiences. Between James and I, we’ve had great ones, but we also really want to hear from other people. We want to hear what’s working for them, what’s not working for them, because we know that it’s very important, and the only way we’ll be an accurate representation of the students.
The D.O. Editorial Board: What are some areas that need to be improved within SA, and how would you address them?
J.F.: So there’s a couple. I think the big one we touched upon, kind of harped on a lot, is that idea of re-enfranchising different groups of students who have felt disenfranchised or never franchised before. I use the example of — I mean, it is true — I personify them as well, I’m a political science history major, so when you’ve 45 political science majors in the room, how do you know what are the deficiencies of the VPA, or what the engineering school needs. Or, even beyond academics … talk about diversity, immigrants, multicultural, LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and varying levels of ability. When we talk to InclusiveU, a lot of these students from different groups . . . Your biggest experience at SU is your involvement within organizations — The Daily Orange, SA, (Syracuse University Ambulance), whatever it may be — that’s what you’re going to remember in 20 years from now, this time that you spent with student orgs. But a lot of these groups and communities don’t have that access, and I think a good first step is generating that access through SA. Also, being in SA for three years, I’ve seen some of its highs and also some of its lows. That’s one big way, when you get a ton of the same people from the same background speaking in the room, you don’t see not even all the solutions; you don’t even see the right problems.
But, also, in how SA works in general. They’ve taken some good steps this semester, whether it be the bylaws committee, kind of reorganizing how things operate in there, because you can have a great idea, but then it can get stonewalled just because there’s red tape or whatever it may be. It’s kind of making sure you’ve got people in the room who are passionate about being there. So we’ve had lack of quorum, which the president and vice president can’t really directly fix, but indirectly, if you’re putting in initiatives that people care about, or putting in stuff where you feel passionate again, where you’re actually reaching out to assembly members. This year I feel like we had a lot of top-down leadership instead of bottom-up. So we would hand down directives from leadership — the executive branch or whatever you want to call it — and assembly members were kind of given tasks. That’s not how I envision assembly members. It’s supposed to be two equal branches, so to say. Somebody should be able to generate their own ideas, have their own ability to be creative and take initiative. I think we kind of took the drive and passion away from a lot of these students that were elected this year because when you’re told what to do for four months instead of reminding students, “Why did you want to become a part of SA?” There had to be something. The first thing I came here for was safety, my freshman year. That was the main thing I talked about on that Maxwell stage. So everyone comes in with their own expertise, passion, experience, knowledge and I think we kind of took that away, facilitating that, enabling people and fostering leadership, growth, collaboration, not only within SA, but outside of it, allowing SA to not be that shadowy room in the basement of Schine but being that group that can give you help, can tell you the roadmap, how do you get resources on this campus, because all the parts are here. Not much has to be added; it’s just reorganizing it so that students know where to go to get funding for an event, or if you want to throw a big event, how do you collaborate, SA can help you.
For example, there’s a (Thrive at SU) event leader today, and I kind of helped, with Thrive, put on that event, because they really wanted to do it and I think it’s a great idea, kind of a cultural exchange and worked with the city of Syracuse with Interfaith Works, a city organization. So allowing students to know that SA can be helpful, instead of a hinderance. Because everyone’s going to say, “We have to do outreach, we have to outreach, people don’t really care about SA.” And there’s only so much outreach you can do. People don’t care about SA until SA starts doing things that helps students, and that helps their lives and their student experience at Syracuse. Because no matter how much you table in every different school or college on this campus, they’ll be like, “Whatever, it’s SA.” … You see every so often, whether it be Mental Health Awareness Week or the library hours, or whatever it may be but they’re too spaced apart. If SA can have something where every month, almost biweekly or weekly, there’s something going on that you can associate with SA, that’s when students I think will start caring about SA.
The D.O. Editorial Board: What things that President Eric Evangelista and Vice President Joyce LaLonde have done would you like to continue if you were elected?
A.P.: So we’d definitely like to continue a lot of the mental health initiatives that they’ve put into place but also expand upon that, which we talked about before. Joyce did a wonderful job with the Mental Health Awareness Week, but it was the first year so we’d love to kind of … They did a reflection on it and things of the sort. They’d love to see an expansion, different times of the day, little things and then big things, different times of they day, making it more accessible so that students … Maybe not making it like 5-7 you have to be here, but instead, on the Quad right now it’s nice out, there’s hammocks hanging, and it’s kind of a stress thing. Maybe making it less structured in some ways and a little bit more structured in other ways. Additionally, we’d like to see a lot of the recommendations from the Mental Health Report actually played out, so build upon that, where there is a mental health advisory council, which we talked about. Look at the peer listening service and at the least — the very, very least — lay out the groundwork. And in the meantime bring the national crisis text hotline to Syracuse University.
Additionally, the Mental Health Report was really awesome. We’d love to see that kind of happen for Health Services. That is just a constant struggle that students continuously face and continuously talk about is “You know I’ve tried to get into Health Services and I was so sick and they told me three, four weeks.” And it’s kind of the same rhetoric that you hear around the Counseling Center, so we’d like to see that evaluation done because when there are concrete statistics put into place and you can work on them, so realizing that you do have to do things step by step. You can’t just go in and be like, “OK, Health Services, we hear that you might be depriving some students of resources.” No, we have to actually do the research. And maybe even finding a more efficient way to do that because the Mental Health Report was primarily a lot of the statistics were from the climate survey, which only 20 to 30 percent of the students took. Which, you know, would those statistics be different or would they be higher if more students took (the survey). So I think that’s something that’s really interesting because that did have information about mental health.
But I think a lot of the health initiatives that they did last year is something that we would like to continue. Additionally, the bike share program … and the adaptability bikes … Those are really great, seeing the expansion of that. When we did talk to Joyce and Eric, they would like to see kind of a platform where those are able to be used a little bit more rather than just kind of sitting outside of Schine. … So kind of what James was saying, kind of making sure these initiatives are continued long term and brought over so that one, the administration doesn’t work super, super hard on it and then it’s forgotten. … I think a lot of the mental health initiatives and the health initiatives, not only would we like to build upon them but we’d also like to expand upon theme in different levels.
J.F.: And then, just a few that I’ve seen, whether it be, so within the Student Life Committee they had a lot of good ones I’d certainly like to see expand or at least continue, whether it be the menstrual products across all bathrooms, whether it be remote access, so they can create a program where students in engineering and computer science can — they have a lot of specific programs — can now access that in the comfort of your own home. Again, making sure that that stays, looking to expand that for other schools and colleges …
The Community Engagement Committee had a spring forward thing, so like, biweekly they hold an engagement event with the city of Syracuse, getting students to come out and volunteer, which I think was a good variation on last year. I think last year they had a week or a day, so this year doing it throughout the semester consistently kind of hammers home that point that you know, something’s not going to happen … Students coming down off the Hill for a day isn’t going to make a difference, but students coming down off the Hill for 15 weeks can begin to create those relationships, to maybe start creating more cohesiveness within Syracuse University and the city of Syracuse.
My own personal, library hours. But I think that when we had the report from Bird Library, hundreds of students used it, they said they would love to bring it back so we’re already working on putting that in place for October, sometime in there, about the second or third week.
And then the final one, which is the one that I think needs some evaluation, especially as more students have learned about it, is the off-campus camera program, which was kind of put in this year with (Evangelista) and Alex Lynch … So right now it’s a pilot, or it’s going to be a pilot, down Euclid. But really evaluating, because of the heavy cost with that, if the cost is worth the benefits, if students want that, because it is a significantly increased level of surveillance. And also, when we talked with the DPS advisory board and (DPS Chief Bobby Maldonado), they also expressed concern over whether, like we said, does target hardening almost decrease crime as much for a wildly less cost. Or what other things can we do, just because is that a sustainable initiative. If it is, if it significantly reduces crime, if students do feel safe and not more surveilled, absolutely, we’d love to continue it. But it’s something that I think will have to be reevaluated in the upcoming year.
A.P.: I have one more. Also the pre-health coalition, Joyce is, she’s kind of just started working on it, but there has been some positive feedback. I’d love to see that continued, which would basically be groups like Phi Delta Epsilon, the pre-medical fraternity, and groups on campus that have traditionally pre-medical students and pre-health students. Offering speakers, offering ways that students can kind of make themselves stronger applicants for their health professions that they’d like to pursue. And kind of the reflection of that is what is Student Association doing for people who aren’t wonderful policy studies majors and citizenship and civic engagement majors, things of the sort. Reaching out to those groups and really proving exactly what James said, if you work for those groups then they’ll be more inclined to join Student Association and there would be this continued cycle of change.
The D.O. Editorial Board: What do you think did not work well with the previous administration? What would you like to improve?
A.P.: I’m just going to start from an outside perspective. I would really like to see more of a teamwork-based effort and I think that was something … (former SA President Aysha Seedat and former Vice President Jane Hong) were people that I looked up to as a freshman because they … It’s not even that they were best friends. It’s that they have this mutual respect and admiration for each other and would continuously recognize that within each other. And I think that is very reflective upon your work. If you are working with someone that you adore and that you respect and you recognize their talents, that’s going to not only create a positive environment within Student Association, it’s also going to improve the quality of your initiatives. You’re just going to care more. You’re going to like it more. You’re not going to get tired of it — because it is hard work. So I think that was something that I would really — from an outside perspective — didn’t see in this current administration. And it was sad because they are such wonderful people and they do have a lot of talents to be recognized. So that was something that I would really love to see in the upcoming administration, even if it’s not us, because that really does go a long way, just recognizing how wonderful someone is and really working with them.
J.F.: Like I said, there was a lot of great work done this year that got overshadowed or hindered by … Once you win, it’s not over. Now you have to quote-unquote govern, or whatever you want to say in regard to SA. And that’s when you have to dig in. It’s even harder. And I think at times maybe they just — or it was a thought that if we win, it can just go. No, even though you’re still elected, you still have to display the leadership, you still have to promote teamwork and like I said, enable other members of Student Association.
And I feel sometimes that decisions were made unilaterally to kind of just go forward and not wanting to hear other opinions. Not even other opinions within SA but outside of it. For example, when it came to sanctuary campus, there was a lot of dispute over whether … There was a lot of conversation about that and some of the opinions in the room were personal, but not expanding it to “well, what would this campus want,” recognizing the signs of this campus and not even allowing to have a debate on it. I think that’s when you get your own personal opinions in the way of what we’re supposed to be doing in SA. And I think it really just came out of that.
It’s a bunch of little things. Those things spawn from this, whether it be in all of the constitutional bylaws violations, well that spawned because you didn’t create an environment of collaboration, of teamwork, and maybe your parliamentarian would’ve guided you. Or in which someone would’ve stepped forward and helped you along with the process. I almost felt like at times we were in silos or on our own islands and kind of just, you’re in this area or this subject — academic affairs, student engagement, VP, president, whatever — do the best you can because there’s not really going to be any help. I think the best example of that is when we have cabinet meetings it almost seems as if we’re just reporting on what we’re doing, which is important, but I envision that meeting as — although I’m academic affairs chair, although somebody’s community engagement or student life — we want each other’s feedback. Each of us has our own experience. So if I say an idea, I want you to critique me. If you think that’s trash, say it’s trash. We’ve worked that way in the past. “Oh, you should reach out to this dean or this associate dean who kind of worked on this before. He can help you. Or she can help you.” And then also, digging deeper into that, it would be nice if there was that collaboration where a meeting wasn’t just to report and then go. It was let’s build something together as a team because it’s not just supposed to be VP, president and everyone else is kind of like workers underneath them, like a corporation. It’s supposed to be we’re all in this together. We can only be successful if we work together. I just feel all the other little things have distracted from the work of SA this year spawned from that broader theme.
The D.O. Editorial Board: In regard to the sanctuary campus issue, do you plan to continue to advocate for students affected by federal policies? And if so, are you willing to, if necessary, compromise with SU’s administration on these things?
J.F.: Our first thing we thought of when we wanted to run was, it was actually the executive order, about two or three months now, where 50 students were told they couldn’t return if they left, and SA was quiet about that. Eerily, disturbingly quiet. No statement from anyone, no offer for help and we said that’s the main thing we thought of. We ran that position, the next day, we would have tried whatever we could have done because those students who now have to stay, if you have to stay — maybe because of a force outside of our control — let’s make it as comfortable as we can. Who can we work with? Can we work with the Office of Residence Life? Can we work with Food Services? Can we make sure things are open and available for you? Can we put together funds to make sure the state does not more financially harm you? What can we do so that those students …
We can’t control what happens in (Washington, D.C.) or Albany, but we can, in return, make sure that the implications, ramifications are less damaging, less harmful for these students. SU is supposed to be, and any college or university is supposed to be, almost like we say, that beacon on the hill where you can come — all your experiences, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy your time here, have a great time, meet other students, have different experiences and take that and go make the world a better place, whatever you’re passionate about after. But it’s hard to do that when you’re worried about what the outside world is doing or trying to do to you, and that is the first thing that we thought about that we would do differently.
A.P.: And that’s where proactive greater than reactive really came from. We were reading and I think our hearts just dropped. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a human fundamental issue that, “I can’t go home.” And there is this huge discrepancy, these people who are going to such wonderful places for Spring Break and are having either a great time reuniting with their family or are in tropical destinations and you can’t travel. And it kind of speaks to a lot more than just not being able to travel. It’s about how inclusive we are as a university and if you can’t go somewhere else, exactly like James said, at least you are welcome and we will fight for you as a student association, because that’s what it’s suppose to be. It’s suppose to be a student union and you can’t pick and choose who you advocate for. You advocate for all the students. So that means if it gets tough, it’s gonna get tough and if people disagree then you’re still advocating for people who really really do matter.
J.F.: And you touched upon a keyword there: union. The biggest misconception about SA is that we are a student government, which we are the undergraduate student government body, but there is a reason they dropped Student Government Association 20 or 30 so years ago. It’s because we are suppose to be a student union, advocacy on behalf of the students, whatever it may be. And I think, I mean, like we said, a lot of people may want to politicize these issues but when the only … I mean we represent SU and those students. The only thing we can care about regardless of what we personally believe is, how does that personally affect our friend or friend of a friend? How can we help them? And I think that kind of speaks to why we want to do this. We genuinely do care about personal relationships, community relationships. Human interaction means a lot to us. Your time at Syracuse would not be what it was … There could be a great game at Syracuse but you remember it because you went with your friends or where you went after with your friends, where you went before with your friends. And if students can’t have that kind of experience, and they are constantly worried — making sure that all students, regardless of where you are from, background, that when you come here you have an equal chance to have what SU has to offer.
A.P.: I think in response, also like concrete initiatives, like we would actually like to look at what we’re doing, not just sitting around the table. Because I think it’s very easy to sit around a table and be like, “Yeah, we agree, people feel marginalized, and we should work for them.” But it’s like, OK, let’s actually work for them. It’s very easy to be empathetic but it’s much more difficult to take that empathy and actually have a concrete plan. And I think that’s something that James and I, you know when we were first decided to run, we were like, how would we go about doing this because it’s something that really matters.
The D.O. Editorial Board: Moving back toward the election, what sets you apart from the other candidates?
A.P.: One of the things James and I feel is kind of like, we have, after listening to Tyler and Roy speak, we do have a lot of parts of their campaign and we also feel like we have more. We feel like a lot of specific things with diversity are pertinent to them because, you know, they have those identities, and what’s important to James and I is that we can’t have every identity in the book and we still want to advocate for all identities. Within our diversity platform there is multicultural diversity, there’s LGBTQA diversity, there’s diversity with regard to students with disabilities and different levels of ability, and James and I don’t represent every single identity and that’s important. So I think what’s important for us is making sure our platform is kind of all-encompassing, so that we are not leaving out key groups — that is, anyone. Anyone is a key group, and so we really hope that … You know we worked really hard on our platform and making sure we were advocating for these people because if we were elected we would want to see that translated. So I think that’s something within us, it’s not that we have been personally affected by some of these things but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be working for it.
J.F.: Tyler and Roy have great ideas, and they’ve got some great different perspectives to bring to SA but I think what the difference is, is just a few things. Instead of just tossing around buzzwords, having these tangle things beneath that and then beneath that, like I said, having the knowledge to or at least experience of how to carry those things out. You only have 30 weeks, less, to be SA president and vice president, and that’s kind of what happened this year, too. It’s a learning curve. I mean we got halfway through and then we settled it. There was a lot of cabinet turnover. Kind of taking those experiences in so that you’re not, you know, four or five or six weeks in and still learning how to go about things.
And a lot of things that they’ve talked about, I think we’ve either done it or are doing it or we’ve been a part of it, whether it be for different kinds of initiatives to help with all these different topics. I think we’re already … They said they wanted to outreach to students but we went on a listening tour during our campaign. We’ve met with 35, 36, 37 different student organizations and they’ve kind of chose the path of going to administrators, which is fine, it’s just a different way of looking at it. It’s their time to … get that knowledge of how to do things, but I think at the end of the day our constituency we represent is students, and just going further than that … I mean we truly are passionate about why we want to do these things. … We don’t want to run to have president and VP next to our names or on our resumes. We want to run because I truly think the Euclid shuttle could improve the lives of … students on campus. She truly thinks, and we truly think, that a peer listening service would help with deficiencies in campus resources until that time comes when … more hiring of counselors can happen.
And then also, that kind of speaks to that, not to beat the dead horse, but I mean relationships truly matter to us so that’s why we want to be with student organizations because we truly value what each org has to offer to this university. Because each of us come in and we have our own passions and you know, you either spend your two, three, four years in a certain org and you love it but you don’t really venture outside of it.
It’s one of the few times in a campaign when you get to see what everyone else’s passions are at this university. Kind of meet them, hear what their experiences were. And then, also in regard to that, the things that we’ve done we’ve been pretty consistent with, in regard to what we’ve believed in. I think Tyler and Roy, some of the things they’ve changed on kind of speaks to their ability to adapt and learn. And I think that is a strength, but I think it’s also a strength in having been consistent from the beginning. And what we’ve kind of, whether it be sanctuary campus or something that we’ve believed in since the beginning, … But like I said they have some great ideas, some great experiences and perspectives, I just think we’ve got a little more meat to the bones to say of those buzzwords, and also a little bit more passion, drive and knowing how to get those things done if we were to be elected.
The D.O. Editorial Board: What are your plans in the case you are not elected?
A.P.: I would just continue on — it’s kind of sad because I didn’t run for any of my executive boards or anything like that because that was a risk I had to take just because elections happened and things of the sort, but I’d still plan to be super involved in all the organizations that I’m a part of, even if I was elected, I would still do that but I mean I would just go back to loving this campus. There is still so much power to make change in not being president and vice president. So even if we weren’t elected I don’t think it would change anything it wouldn’t make us resentful of this wonderful university. It would just be like, OK, well we have to find other avenues to go about you know, maybe working on some of these things. Maybe finding a way for the mental health advisory council to be created, finding a way to be on it or helping creating it.
You know, things of the sort where there are still so many avenues to make change on this campus that’s not just Student Association. So that’s really, really important. And just continuing on the involvement, I don’t think there is anything else I’d want to add to my plate but I think continuing on in the involvement and maybe just, you know, like delving a little more into it. And then also looking at other avenues, which James and I have become really passionate about a lot of different things. Maybe kind of looking at other avenues where we could implement these even if we weren’t … or work on these, or advocate for them to be implemented even if we weren’t vice president and president of Student Association.
J.F.: So unfortunately I have some experience in losing elections and what happens next. So I lost comptroller last year and I think that kind of speaks though too to what I would do. I didn’t resign from SA or from the Finance Board, even. I stayed on, I enjoyed my work with the Finance Board and I said it throughout it that I thought anyone that would be elected would be great to lead it, but I still wanted to be a part of the process so I reapplied to be a part of SA through my cabinet application. I didn’t … I still thought I had more to offer, you know, I didn’t become bitter or kind of run away to say … It was what it was, you know. You get that phone call at 12:30 at night and it’s like, “Ah okay, whatever, you know, that kinda sucks. I’ll order pizza and then I’ll figure out what to do next year.”
But so that whatever I could do, would stay involved in. So would I look to become an assembly member? Perhaps, I’ve done that but I’ll look to apply to the cabinet for something … and also in rededicating myself to different organizations within SUA. They kinda speak to this, especially in the last few weeks I haven’t been around as much, haven’t been progressing as much as I should be so, you know, reinvigorating my other passions that I’ve developed at this university so instead of working a shift every couple of weeks, kind of get into it more often. So I don’t think it would be any different from last year, just picking up the pieces and seeing what’s next.
A.P.: I also think whoever does win, and if it wasn’t us it would be Tyler and Roy, I think it would be awesome if they would be willing, if they won, to kind of sit down with us. We’ve met with so many different wonderful people and kind of just, from our perspective, we don’t know if they’ve done that or not, so if they haven’t, just kind of like presenting them with the information that other people have told us. You know, there is no hard feelings, but this is what other people think and maybe you can use this to be even more successful. So I think that would be great and at the end of the day, you just want to work for the students and I think James and I would just type up a lot of different things that we’ve met with different organizations and hand them over and be like, if this is helpful to you please use it because this was really helpful for us and it helps fine-tune initiatives and also represent students.
The D.O. Editorial Board: If you were elected, how would you connect with the SU administration to advocate on behalf of students?
J.F.: I think the big part about that is like we said, I think sometimes that kind of got, and this kind of connects to another question you had, at times maybe we were the spokesperson to the chancellor for the students and spokesperson from the students to the administration, so making sure that’s always true in regards to advocating. There’s only so much you can do but I think the big thing is you can’t just, you know, feel satisfied if you went up there once to a dean, to the chancellor, to the provost, and be like, “Well I did my case, now it’s up to them.” If it is something you truly feel and really think is important to this campus, you almost have to be annoying. You keep coming. You let them know that this is something students care about. If they want more then you go find the data, the qualitative data to support it. You go point to whatever it may be.
For example, it may be the sanctuary campus, you can kind of just tell, I mean we had the largest protest at this university since apartheid when we had over 1,000 students come out on the promenade and go throughout Syracuse. A lot of that was — well, not every student — a reaction to that election, to the new policies that were going to be coming. Letting administrators know that these are things that are important to us. And again I mean not being combative, I mean we can only go as far as the administrator will let us, but being respectful. If and when the chancellor says something that Angie or I disagree with at its core, we are going to let him know that we just don’t think that’s right for this university. And well, why do you think that way and why do I think that way and let’s kind of work together because you can’t come in there with a hardline attitude, because I think at times it kind of happened this year for a little while, where we were stonewalled on the off-campus camera project because somebody who worked on it came in almost dictating to DPS, which you just can’t do … They are doing a favor to you when they help put in initiatives but you want to let them know how this will benefit them and make their jobs easier as well. If you work in higher education you did come to do this because you had some kind of passion for students and kind of just remind them of that.
A.P.: Exactly that. Just kind of respectfully challenging. I’ve been fortunate enough to be on Dean (Rebecca Reed) Kantrowitz’s board since my freshman year and just you know, from big things to little things. So my freshman year they brought in people from the city of Syracuse who were advocating for … It was to combat underage drinking and it was like, if you have a house party and if it was after the third violation of a noise complaint because that’s how SPD is called, then you can face possible incarceration. For a third noise complaint, for you know, maybe living right here on Ostrom, having a house party and possibly going to jail and facing upwards to $1,000 fine. And that was something that, you know you’re sitting there as a student and thinking of people and parties that you go to, parties that your peers go to and you’re like, that doesn’t work. I’m not going to sit here and be like, that’s fine. That’s not fine. … Because this person is having a party and it’s loud, like, they might go to jail? There are other ways to combat underage drinking, and also thinking about the implications of, okay these people can’t drink at this party, then they are going to drink a lot in the dorms if they are underage, you know, or they are going to drink a lot very very quickly. There are other implications … and I was fortunate enough that Aysha and Jane were also there on the board and they were like, no, no, no, and it was awesome to have those leaders, and then it was also awesome to contribute and be like, as a freshman, I’m just going to drink a lot in Sadler, like something of the sort where it’s like, this is creating more problems and I know it’s easy for me to be like, oh that’s fine, that’s really bad that people are underage drinking, and it’s, you know people are being loud, but that’s not realistic, you know that’s not an accurate representation of the student body.
So things of that sort and then also smaller things like signs that are on the doors of bathroom stalls. When they first presented them to us they were very confusing and I wouldn’t say that they are not super, super confusing now, but I would say they were less when they presented them to us. So it was more aesthetic with a lot of different arrows and little things like that, but if I’m in need and I need someone to talk to, I’m not going to want to follow all of these arrows. I need my information presented to me.
And things of the sort where you’re working with administrators and really just kind of providing a genuine student input in the most respectful manner. And it’s really important to James and I that we have had really great experience doing that and have developed great relationships because of that, because at the end of the day administrators don’t want you to sit there and agree with them all the time; it doesn’t make sense. That does not … Then they are just going to get backlash from other places and it’s because you didn’t offer the accurate representation before. So it’s just really important that that working relationship is mutual, beneficial and respectful. But I think we’ve had great experience doing it and I think we would just
The D.O. Editorial Board: You’ve mentioned the Euclid Avenue shuttle a few times since you announced your running. What exactly is the goal of that and how will it work?
J.F.: It was kind of an idea similarly proposed from a capstone from the geography department last fall. That’s where the idea spawned from, it wasn’t exactly the same but it was kind of a response to the biggest issues. Like I said, students are most susceptible to crime traveling alone with small groups on this campus. … So this kind of thing, it’s from some baseline research on it, it’s fiscally possibly within SA especially partnering with administrative offices.
So at 20-minute, consistent, convenient loops, so we will be looking at approximately every other street down Euclid until about Livingston. So for example, Westcott, Lancaster, the cross-streets and then down to Comstock and Madison. Again we can reevaluate that as we go but other places may need some, but that’s generally what we are looking at right now. And then, there are services on this campus that students can go to, students can go to DPS to go home but honestly students don’t use it because a hassle, it’s not just something, it’s kind of confusing, how do you go to it, how does it work, how do you do it and am I allowed to go? Students always ask if they are even allowed to use it because I am, I was drinking, I was hanging out at a friend’s, am I allowed to use this still?
A.P.: Especially if there is a long wait or one or two shuttles.
J.F.: Yeah, we kind of see it as a 45-minute wait so we are just hoping … We connect South Campus so well to us because there are thousands of students that live there. There are 4,000 to 5,000 graduate and undergraduate students that live in that Euclid and off-campus areas. So enabling, just how we’ve created such a great transport system for there … Being proactive on safety instead of if we keep getting strong-armed robbery emails, whatever it may be, down on Euclid, well, that’s because students have to walk home. Why don’t we give them a bus to come home? So that’s the way we thought about it.
Published on April 17, 2017 at 4:21 am