My first experience with Senate was being elected into office and immediately receiving a vague message from Tarik (Woods) about what I wanted to accomplish with Student Government. This would eventually turn out to be a disguised vector for tearing down Speaker (Katharine) Shriver and attempting to sway brand new senators to his voting block for her impeachment. Every action of Speaker Shriver’s, from my experience in the 99th and 100th sessions of Senate, was always for the good of the University and fitting of her position. Her knowledge on the Student Code was unmatched, and her passion for Undergraduate Senate was incredibly clear, working over 20 hours a week for no pay. I am proud to have actively worked against Tarik’s actions and rhetoric, but I immensely regret not being more proactive and publicly speaking out in support of Katharine. That blame falls on me and I will continue to do better, speaking out for victims of a toxic and sexist dynamic that continues to be perpetuated on campus.
As a side note, I am furious that this entire SBP election has ran without accountability or dignity. Jane Tullis, while having retroactively called for the resignation of Savannah Putnam as SBP after her use of the n-word several years ago, had herself similarly typecast Black students in negatively stereotypical lights within the same timeframe. Ashton Martin seemingly actively targeted other campaigns through Board of Elections actions, bombarding them with suits and leading to the last minute disqualification of Jack Noble. Noble inaccurately represented himself in front of the student body, stating positions about Student Government powers and committees that are factually incorrect. While the claims and suits that led to the disqualification of his campaign appear to be targeted, they are still valid and show an abuse of power and the Student Code.
I stand for women. I stand for minority rights. I stand for public activism and free speech. I am a better person because of the amazing, unique, diverse people that surround me, and this public stance serves to hold me accountable, as a Senator and as a UNC student. I can only hope that in the coming years, future student body president candidates better hold themselves accountable too.