Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
With Undergraduate Student Government campaigning in full swing, presidential candidate Taylor Stepp and vice presidential candidate Kevin Arndt have been busy reaching out to individuals and student groups with their platform, focusing on a “Buckeye state of mind.”
“Our biggest platform point and what we want to put first on the agenda for what we want to push initially, is our five-step safety plan,” said Stepp, a second-year in Russian and public affairs.
The five-step plan includes preparations to increase funding for student safety services and secure the program a permanent spot in the university fiscal budget, along with a push for a mutual-aid agreement between the Columbus Division of Police and Ohio State Police.
The plan also includes the idea of a “Safe-Walk program” in collaboration with the community ambassadors, which would act as an alternative to the Student Safety Service student escort program. Instead of being picked up in a university vehicle, students would be able to be walked home by a trained student, an initiative the candidates hope will cut down on lengthy waits for current services.
The final point in their safety plan is to provide students with more education on crime and living in a city environment.
“We want to educate students in survey classes, letting them know this is an urban campus, a very different environment than what the average college freshmen’s typically from,” Stepp said.
The candidates have also pledged to make safety information more accessible online, with visual aids illustrating when problems have occurred in the off-campus area. Stepp said he would like students to have access to more data about where sexual predators are and where violent crimes have taken place so students can “better guard themselves.”
The candidates would like to meet the issue of campus safety with an attitude that they said differs from how it is currently handled.
“We need to stop making safety a PR issue. Instead of these grandeur announcements about task forces and not a lot of implementable ideas, we need to make it more about protecting students and not about protecting the universities PR,” said Arndt, a third-year in public affairs and political science.
Aside from their focus on safety, the candidates plan to address student concerns about the semester conversion by holding the university accountable to the promises they made when committing to the term change.
“The university made two pledges to students. One, that no time would be added to your date of graduation because of the conversion, and two, no more expenses will be added because of semesters conversion,” Stepp said.
Under their leadership, any student who feels like the university is not holding true to its pledges will be able to submit a complaint electronically to the newly formed semester Conversion Appeals Board within the USG office, where at that point USG would attempt to get a hearing date for the student to make his or her case.
Stepp and Arndt have labeled themselves as advocates for the Greek system, including a Greek exception to the two-year, on-campus living requirement for undergraduate students on their platform. The OSU Board of Trustees passed the proposal to move forward with a plan to require on-campus living for all first- and second-year students last week.
The duo also plans to cultivate better communication between Greek organizations and USG.
Also included on their platform is a plan to distribute student athletic tickets more efficiently, moving the pick-up location from the Schottenstein Center to the Ohio Union, and an idea for creating an OSU sponsored website similar to ratemyprofessor.com where information collected via quarterly Student Evaluations of Instructors will be posted and made available to students.
The pair said they hope their campaign platform will bring out voters.
“We need to give students a reason to care about student government,” Stepp said.