Before the Student Government Association (SGA) polls opened for the 2019-20 academic year on March 26, presidential candidates Emily Moran and Haleigh Pannell debated in front of about 100 people. The debate was moderated by Senior Class President David Gills.
Both Moran and Pannell are rising seniors and had similar platforms regarding student representation and campus outreach.
Moran, a political science and economics double major with concentrations in pre-law and international relations and a minor in history, has been a part of SGA since her freshman year. Moran stepped into the Executive Historian position while being Freshman Class Representative and was reelected for the historian position her sophomore year and currently sits as Executive Treasurer of SGA.
“Through my involvement with these organizations and others as well as the positions I hold and have held, I know that I have the communication skill set, leadership abilities and drive to be the president of the Longwood student body,” Moran said in her opening statement. “I will represent all of my peers to the best of my abilities.”
Pannell, a psychology major with a minor in neurostudies, was appointed to SGA as a senator in February 2018 and became Junior Class President in April of that year. With her position, she has facilitated Town Hall discussions such as the Campus Safety Town Hall in light of student concerns with Longwood University Communications and Longwood University Police Department (LUPD).
Per Pannell, during her time at Longwood, she has been a part of 17 different organizations, including Promise 16, Mortar Board and the Office of Citizen Leadership and Social Justice.
“I have used my time to listen, advocate, empower and support the needs of every student because I believe every student deserves to be fought for,” said Pannell in her opening statement.
Both Pannell and Moran agreed the biggest issues on campus currently are campus safety and diversity inclusion, but the candidates have different approaches on how to solve these issues.
Moran said there is a “disconnect” between students and administration and if that were fixed, it would be a lot easier for students’ concerns to be heard, while Pannell suggested LUPD meet with underrepresented groups on campus each semester to learn about their concerns and fears.
When it comes to issues with academic affairs, Pannell expressed getting rid of Longwood Seminar (LSEM), a program for first-year students to learn about campus, was an issue that took away support for freshmen and first-year students.
Moran also said taking away LSEM has “hurt the student body as of right now” but expressed that the university and students must give the new system “more time” because there is an adjustment period.
Pannell added she would like to see a first generation student representative added to SGA to help first generation students with the college transition process.
Moran also said she wants to address the prices students must pay for internships.
“For many of us who do our internships over the summer, we are paying three to four grand to check in with a professor once a week via email, and they don’t even read it - they just give you an ‘A’ for submitting it,” said Moran.
In her closing statement, Pannell said she would continue to work for every student.
“I just want to be given the opportunity to give this campus the leadership it deserves to become the epitome of an inclusive college environment and I’m committed to put every one of you first,” said Pannell.
Moran reiterated her main goals: to work on the price of internships for students, to implement a system for all senators to be able to pursue projects and to have a 24-hour room with a computer and printer open to students who may need it.
“I know that Longwood can be great and I think we just need to invest that time, and all of us need to invest that time and it not just be the same people over and over. It needs to be all of us,” said Moran.
The polls for SGA elections are open until Tuesday, April 2 at 11:59 p.m.