The Oracle

Candidates hustle for HUSC office

Three sets of candidates pitch their visions ahead of election.

Sean Hanson, Senior Columnist

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It is election season again, the time when photoshopped posters advertise HUSC candidates in dorms, offices and by classrooms across campus. The time to elect a new Hamline University Student Congress (HUSC) president and vice-president is at hand, and now Pipers must ask themselves the familiar question: what exactly does HUSC do? Does it do things?

Last year, this question hardly needed to be answered, as only one pair ran for the vacant slots: Sara Antony for President with Paige Natzke for Vice-President. Their swift and effortless ascension to office ensured that the Hamline student body need not pay attention to an ever so quiet shift in power. For drama sucks up attention, and there is little drama in an uncontested election. But where there was one, now there are three.

Yes, three sets of candidates vie for office, each of them confronting the same essential problem: how to make HUSC visible to students, and in turn, convince students to care about its purpose. The candidates presented their brand and ideas at the Tuesday debate in Anderson, coalescing in their remarks around a singular theme: representation. Here are the quick rundowns.

Raie Gessesse (President) and Oubeida Ouro-Akondo (VP):

This promising duo’s mantra is, “What can we do for us?” and the philosophy of that question is present in what they bring to their bid. As two women of color, Gessesse and Ouro-Akondo are uniquely positioned to work with people of different intersectionalities. In other words, upend–or at the very least, water down–Hamline’s institutional whiteness and, in its place, install a congress that is more receptive to identities beyond the white patriarchy. This is all good and appealing, and, really, necessary if the institution is to properly accommodate for diverse intersectional identities. Their stated methods for achieving this representation is through direct and friendly communication as well as involving HUSC in student orgs so as to form a collaborative link. Gessesse and Ouro-Akondo are a surprise ticket, having more recently joined the race.

Emily Lincoln (President) and Ray Doss (VP):

This pair’s slogan is, “Our Campus, Your Way,” which they pointedly emphasized in the debate in an appeal to inclusiveness. Lincoln and Doss cited their strong relationship as the bedrock of how they would work for the student body if elected. Implicitly, this means their selling point is the dynamism of differing temperaments working together to develop innovative solutions for issues afflicting students. Food justice, diversity initiatives and accessibility were among the primary topics named as part of their agenda. In regard to communication, Lincoln and Doss stated they would like to relate the varied nature of accessibility (i.e. starvation, debt) to faculty and staff, as well as hold frequent general assemblies. Earning the presidency, for these two, will depend on whether or not voters believe their partnership is strong enough to meet their ambitions.

Liam Temple (President) and Ikram Mohamud (VP):

Temple and Mohamud did not advertise a slogan like their peers. Instead, they presented the casual confidence of people who are familiar with HUSC’s ins and outs. They stressed the importance of HUSC reaching out to students through new channels, like social media, online forums and general assemblies in easy-to-find locations. They also expressed their wish for HUSC to be an involved partner with student orgs, and not just a money well. Getting in regular contact with upper levels of the administration is a goal of theirs in which I am particularly interested, as the Board of Trustees remains a nebulous entity. These two are a polished pair and a good vote if their flaunted expertise does not rub off as too “safe” for voters.

These are the candidates, though I am sure others could provide an alternative analysis. Nevertheless, each set is promising in its own way, offering unique angles on the problem of making HUSC visible and representative of the student body. Good luck to them, and may the winners have success in this effort.

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Candidates hustle for HUSC office