Hutchinson/Ghuman emphasize social justice and transparency

By Aviva Okeson-Haberman

MSA Presidential candidate Andrew Hutchinson was “raised by a catholic democrat Mexican woman and an atheist tea partier libertarian White man.”

“I grew up in a household where I…had the two opposites of every ideology sitting at the dinner table and I picked and chose the things that carved me out to be who I am,” said Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson’s upbringing played a significant role in the issues that he and his running mate, Lydia Ghuman, want to address.

According to Hutchinson, his mother told him and his brothers that, “you are white passing men, you need to look out for those around you. And if you are not looking out for other people then you are not fulfilling what it is to be a human being.”

Social Justice

Hutchinson’s and Ghuman’s platform focuses heavily on social justice issues. Among other things, the Hutchinson/Ghuman slate want to expand gender neutral bathrooms, change the MSA presidential election process by removing monetary fines, and increase the college success for first generation, marginalized and non-traditional students.

Missing in their 24 bullet point platform, however, is any mention of sexual assault.

“It’s honesty just an oversight… When Lydia [Ghuman] and I realized that [sexual assault wasn’t included in the platform] we felt terrible and we still feel terrible about it because it’s something that’s incredibly important to each of us…This is not even remotely okay that we didn’t include it in the platform.”

Housing

The Hutchinson/Ghuman slate is the only slate to mention “working with the Columbia Housing Authority to find more affordable housing solutions for the Mizzou student population, especially homeless students.”

“I met with Andrew Hutchinson last week to discuss affordable housing for MU students…We discussed a wide variety of issues affecting student housing including the supply of rental housing, energy efficiency in rental housing, and transportation issues. It was a very positive meeting and I believe Andrew was very engaged in the issue and concerned about safe, energy efficient, and affordable housing for students living off campus,” said CEO of Columbia Housing Authority Phil Steinhaus in an email to MUTV.

Involvement with STRIPES

STRIPES was not specifically mentioned in the Hutchinson/Ghuman platform. Delan Ellington reached out to STRIPES Director Cody Swanson on the behalf of Hutchinson and Ghuman.

“I am helping some friends make a platform for the MSA special election and one of their points that they want to do is increasing STRIPES to 1-2 cars during the weekday for students who are studying long hours and working late up to like 1:30am,” Ellington wrote in an email to Swanson.

Swanson emailed MUTV a copy of the email.

“This email does not ask any sort of a question and quite frankly did not sit well with myself and the rest of our executive board because of how it seems like this is an initiative that they are trying to take without understanding any of the inner workings of STRIPES and our budgetary constraints. I even followed up with Andrew Hutchinson by forwarding him the email almost a week ago now and still have received no response yet,” Swanson wrote in an email to MUTV.

Election Reform

Throughout the campaign, Hutchinson has been critical of the manner in which MSA elections are conducted.

“Campaigns are expensive… A $300 fine could end a small campaign in a day,” said Hutchinson.

The fist violation of the Board of Elections handbook results in a written warning while the second and third carry a monetary punishment of $100 and $300.

“All fines must be paid directly to the BEC within three academic days of official notification from the BEC, or in the case of an appeal, three academic days of the Student Court decision. Slates are expected to pay all fines even if the slate is no longer running a campaign. Any fines that are not paid within a 72-hour period will receive an additional fine, up to the discretion of the BEC,” according to the Board of Elections Handbook.

Hutchinson suggested replacing monetary fines with a “dock a number of votes from the final tally at the end” or a “cut back on days of campaigning.”

“I would love to hear their suggestions on how to enforce the handbook without these fines, but I have not been contacted by them,” Board of Elections Chairwomn Bridget Everson wrote in an email to MUTV.

MSA Transparency

Hutchinson/Ghuman proposed coordinating “efforts between MUTV and KCOU, as well as MSA’s social media accounts, to create a monthly video podcast intended to highlight the good work done by various groups on this campus.”

This was inspired by FDR’s fireside chats and Hutchinson’s own frustrations with MSA transparency.

“As someone that was a working student, I never knew what was going on around Mizzou. If you are working 30 to 40 hours a week and taking full time classes…you don’t want to go to every single separate media account or org account that you’re interested in because you are just exhausted. It’s hard to keep up with all the good work that people are doing,” said Hutchinson.

“No slates have personally reached out to me, our Communications Director, or our News Director about working with KCOU on any maters,” said the General Manager of KCOU, Kyle Norris, in an email to MUTV.

Voting begins for MSA Presidential Election at 5 p.m. on Monday, February 29, and ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1 at 5 p.m.

Watch MUTV’s full length interview with Hutchinson here:

Hutchinson said in an interview with MUTV that he has been in contact with someone from KBIA about the creation of a podcast. However, he mentioned the General Manager of KOPN when he talked about contacting KBIA. MUTV has reached out to Hutchinson and the General Manager of KOPN to clarify this contact.

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About Aviva Okeson-Haberman

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