Here is the full interview for the “Mizzou For You” MSA slate. Due to time constraints, we were not able to ask all the questions we wanted to in one sitting. Here are a few more questions we asked Robert Schmidt by phone:

Erin Davis: How has being a Columbia native influenced your campaign?
Robert Schmidt: “Well I think that being a Columbia native, I care a great deal about this university and about this campus. That’s not to say that people who come from other places don’t, but this is my home town. How this university is doing certainly affects my hometown. When the budget for the university gets cut it means that people that I’ve known for a long time lose their jobs or businesses where I’ve gone for a long time end up closing because there are fewer students on campus that are customers. Really what inspired me to run, you know what makes me passionate about this university, is that everything that makes this university successful makes my hometown successful. The the easiest way I can see to make sure this university is being successful is to get more student input. Communicatie better with the student body on what they need to be successful, because if the students here are successful then the university will be successful, then the town will continue to flourish.”

ED: You and Alp have no formal experience with MSA, how has this influenced your campaign strategy?
RS: “We certainly wanted to focus on students who also have no formal experience with MSA or potentially don’t even know what it is and certainly have never considered running for senate, or don’t know where their money goes or what their student government does. We wanted to focus on those individuals, trying to get them to be supportive of our campaign since we want to involve them more, and I sort of see not having any experience as a potential benefit. Alp and I aren’t going to be committed to maintaining the status quo. We aren’t going to be complacent and say “oh well this is the way that we did something last year,” or “this is how much we funded something in past years lets’ just do it the same this year.” We’re going to be more willing to make for changes based off what the student body wants.”

ED: In light of recent events involving some international students being discriminated against on campus, if elected, how will you make sure that minority groups on campus feel safe and welcome?
RS: “Certainly free speech is important and I made the comment during the first debate. As it turns out upon further reading, maybe it isn’t necessarily true. As Alp pointed out in the first debate, the University of Alabama has expelled a student for hate speech and that’s generating some plaque from various groups and could possibly be challenged in the courts.

I would say at some point the government can’t persecute you for what you say, but certainly private entities can. But the university to some extent is an arm of the federal government. Whether or not those individuals can be expelled or disciplined isn’t necessarily clear. We need to see what the University of Alabama does before doing anything like that. Really the most important thing to do when someone is saying things that make people feel unwelcome on this campus is to counter that speech with speech of our own that reaffirms that those individuals and international students are just as welcome on this campus as domestic students. Everyone has an opportunity to succeed here at this university and we need to show that the voices who are saying hateful things will always be drowned out by those who are welcoming and those who are encouraging diversity and inclusivity.”

ED: Is there anything else you’d like to add about MSA or your campaign?
RS: “I don’t think so”

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