Sierra Stinson and Dane Sherman // The Observer
Junior Student Body Presidential candidate Sierra Stinson and sophomore Vice Presidential candidate Dane Sherman have created a broad platform based on equitable improvements to Notre Dame’s student body through policy change and creation in partnership with the University and groups of students.
Their 26-page platform is divided into three thematic sections, which also specify the slogan of the post: accompany, implement, mobilize.
A resident of Lewis Hall in Spokane, Washington, Stinson majors in political science and the liberal studies curriculum and serves as director of academic affairs in the student government executive cabinet. She said she was running for student body president because in freshman year, she often felt like she didn’t belong at Notre Dame.
“I want to make sure every student knows they deserve to be here,” she said.
Sherman had a similar reasoning, saying he wanted every student to feel the same way they felt watching the Golden Dome move up Notre Dame Avenue after a school break. He said he felt only excitement, “feeling neither fear nor [like] I don’t belong here.
Sherman, an American Studies and Peace Studies student from Seattle, Washington, is the current Director of University Policy in the Student Government Executive Cabinet.
Stinson said that in addition to their relationships in student government and administration and their shared experience in leadership and policy development in student government, the couple’s experiences as students who have sometimes rebuffed what Notre Dame might be, qualify them as candidates for the student body. president and vice-president.
“And I think that makes us special in the fact that we understand some of the difficulties that some people have had with Notre Dame, and we’re willing to work on that,” she said.
Policy development and change
Stinson said one of their most achievable goals is to increase support and resources for sexual violence prevention and education and support for survivors of sexual violence, including the continued deployment of Callisto on all three campuses.
The ticket’s most ambitious goal is their change in residential life policy, including the payment of a salary to Resident Assistants (RAs).
Another goal of improving residential life is the ticket’s plan to “Helping students express their gender identity“, part of which aims to increase gender equity in Office of Community processes. Standard (OCS).
“Right now there’s a disparity between male and female dorms,” Stinson explained. “Females seem to be in the dorms more often than the male dorms, and there isn’t much of a party culture in the female dorms.”
Stinson and Sherman said that, from conversations with many students and hall presidents, they came to the conclusion that even when male dorms on campus are the place for more unofficial parties, female students are written with OCS violations – often referred to as “OSC’ed” – at higher rates. However, Stinson said that in meetings with university officials, the administration expressed disbelief that the disparity existed.
“What we need to do is make sure the administration sees there’s a disparity,” Stinson said.
The ticket plans to audit the OCS and compile data on violations and disciplinary processes between the male and female dorms to officially expose this alleged issue. Stinson pointed out that the purpose of this plan is to ensure that female dorms can also participate in typical dorm culture.
“We are not trying to limit SCO male dorms or limit the number of parties,” she said. “What we’re actually trying to do is show the administration that women aren’t allowed to do the same fun events that men’s dorms are allowed to do.”
Sherman noted that the OCS audit plan requires cooperation with the University because the OCS goes beyond the power of student government and deals with student privacy.
However, Sherman said: “It’s actually work that I’ve worked on before, in particular, Erin Oliver and the Office of Institutional Equity, and I had a meeting with Heather Ryan, who is at the head of OCS.”
Other issues that Stinson and Sherman plan to address and modify are the 15-minute limitation on unapproved campus protests and organizational recognition requirements and Student Activities Office (SAO) rules that prevent certain groups from students to organize or discuss certain issues such as LGBTQ+ and reproduction. rights.
Additionally, Stinson and Sherman seek to address national legality issues by advocating for the availability of college health insurance for Medicaid-enrolled students and partnering with student body leaders at Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross to lobbying student issues.
Diversity and Accommodation
When asked what the biggest problem facing Notre Dame students is, Stinson said there aren’t enough resources and attention for the increasingly diverse student body at Our Lady.
“Every year they say it’s the most diverse class we’ve had, whether it’s low income or economic, racial, religious or one of those things,” she said. “There is no representation of these races in teaching or among our teachers. There are not enough resources in OSE [Office of Student Enrichment] for low-income students. There are not enough interfaith conversations for students of different faiths.
To respond to the issue of diversity at Notre Dame, their platform “Accompany Affinity Groups on Campus” offers several solutions. Some include encouraging departments to allow class excuses for students to attend events such as Race Relations Week and Gender Relations Center (GRC) events, working with administration to ensure having the Potawatomi flag flown year-round and partnering with OSE to subsidize trips to black hairdressers. in the South Bend area.
Additionally, the post plans to establish a “cultural awareness week” to celebrate diversity at Notre Dame and religion, establish a student-led civil rights commission to hear discriminatory reports, finalize the implementation of an LGBTQ+ mass on campus and continue to work towards the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in Notre-Dame’s non-discrimination clause.
From their list of policy changes and administrative goals, the ticket told The Observer that their first priority upon taking office would be to focus on improving the Notre Dame experience for students in first generation and low income, which was one of the objectives of the current administration of Njomo-Bisner also.
“One of the first things we talked about working on is expanding the Transformational Leaders Program,” Stinson said.
In their vision, low-income students could attend programming the summer before their freshman year to further prepare academically, such as writing an essay that meets Notre Dame academic standards, among others.
Sherman noted that – especially in light of the recent alleged lawsuit against Notre Dame for financial assistance in pricing with other universities – it is important to financially and academically support first-generation and low-income students.
When asked to describe what Notre Dame means to them in one word, Stinson said “self-discovery,” thanks in part to disagreements she’s had with classmates over the years.
“Without this challenge from other bands or other students, I don’t think I would be the person I am today,” she said. “…Now I’m very proud of the fact that I’m a brunette woman, and I know the power of being a brunette woman because I’m able to surround myself with other brunette women who have the same ideals as me, and also to be challenged by people who do not have the same convictions [as] me.”
Sherman answered the question with the word “grace”.
“We spoke with a lot of students, and I think hearing their stories of love, pain, pain and joy was a really eye-opening and transformative experience,” Sherman said. “Whether…we win or lose.”