The founding principle of LSU Student Government presidential candidate Brooklen Farley and vice presidential candidate Cory Koch's campaign is community, a term encompassing diversity, inclusivity, representation and advocacy.
Farley, a political science and liberal arts junior, currently serves as the director of SG’s Campus Affairs and Sustainability Department. Koch, a political science sophomore, is the director of outreach for Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity. Many of the 20 to 30 students on their ticket are members of different organizations from the Black Male Leadership Initiative to the LSU cheerleading team.
“Talking to people from those different areas allowed me to see that I have the duty to represent so many different voices other than just Greek Life and Student Government,” Farley said.
Koch said SG and Greek Life already have members who are outspoken and involved in the LSU community, and the rest of the student body needs to be advocated for — something Koch and Farley plan to do if elected.
“Although we feel like Greek Life is already attended to, we don’t want to make it seem like we dismiss any of their ideas,” Koch said. “If Greek Life came out and said, ‘We want to be out and tailgating on the Parade Ground,’ I would be knocking on [President F. King Alexander’s] door, saying, ‘We want to tailgate on the Parade Ground.’”
The central goal of the BrooklenCory2019 campaign is to create initiatives that are feasible and will last far longer than their terms.
The pair has several initiatives, including plans to increase campus safety. Farley said in light of the alleged attacks on female students in late January, it is important for SG to grow its relationship with LSUPD and try to increase patrols around the Quad and Middleton Library, rather than mainly around the perimeter of campus.
Farley also wants Campus Transit to expand its staff at moments when students request rides the most. Farley said there are around 400 ride requests per night, a statistic provided by LSU Staff Senate President Tammy Millican.
Koch said they want to create the Tiger Action Group, a group of students who solely advocate to change things like the plus and minus system and implement grade exclusion policies for courses. He said they will speak out against administrative policies that contradict the wills of students.
“Since we’ve gotten the plus [and] minus system, teachers, students [and] faculty alike have reported the enormous psychological effect that it has had on students,” Farley said.
If students continue voicing their concerns about the grading system, Farley and Koch plan to get it eliminated. Under the system, getting an A- instead of an A can mean the difference between students getting scholarships or being able to pursue graduate school, since an A- will bring a 4.0 student’s GPA down.
They also want to expand the grade exclusion policy to Physics 2000, a class that does not allow students to improve their GPAs by retaking the class if they make a D or an F in it.
Koch said all it takes is for a student to make one mistake, and their entire physics or STEM career could be at stake.
Farley said another responsibility of the Tiger Action Group would be increasing the diversity of the Student Health Center’s counselors.
“That’s something that is really near and dear to our hearts, and we know that it does come down to funding, and it does come down to hiring,” Farley said.
Farley and Koch have a concept called the Council of High School Leaders, in which they would unite student leaders from public and private high schools across racial and socioeconomic lines to encourage and facilitate relationships between different students. Farley said the University has an issue with retention, and she hopes the council could diminish that issue and uplift the next generation of leaders.
The candidates stressed their roles as being representatives of the students who are not seeking executive positions for personal advancement.
“It doesn’t matter if we personally like [an idea],” Koch said. “If our student body says they want it, we want it, too.”
Farley said they look at facts concerning initiatives students want implemented. If an idea is safe, affordable and feasible, she and Koch will be advocating for it. If they do not fulfill such promises, they urge the student body to hold them accountable.
“We want that urgency under us,” Farley said. “We encourage that backlash.”
The campaign’s slogan is “See commitment, feel change,” and its social media handle is @BrooklenCory2019.
“We’re just two people passionate about this University and passionate about bringing change, so let’s make it happen,” Farley said.
The SG debate will be at 7 p.m. on March 12 in the LSU Student Union Magnolia Room, and the five presidential candidates and their respective vice presidents will speak.