Gomez and Hanner address social justice in their platform “Moving Mizzou Forward”

“If you don’t have these conversations now, you have to do the exact same thing when you get into office,” Hanner said. “We’re going to be able to go in and get to work right away.”
The MSA presidential election slates discuss different topics at the presidential debate Oct. 26, 2015, at Bengal Lair in Memorial Union.

Haden Gomez and Chris Hanner wrote the student inclusivity portion of their platform to address issues of social justice at MU.

During the Oct. 23 debate, Gomez and Hanner said they thought education on social justice issues needed to start with MSA staff. Their platform calls for a requirement for all MSA auxiliaries staff and executives to complete Green Dot training, Safe Space training and Diversity Peer Educated.

“[Having MSA staff trained] tells any student with a marginalized identity that they can feel comfortable participating in their student government,” Hanner said.

Another major goal is to start open forums between the social justice centers to encourage them to work together on issues that affect all of them.

Gomez, who earlier wrote a Facebook post about his own experience as the subject of a Title IX investigation, said during the debate that he and Hanner wanted to destigmatize the Title IX investigation process. In an interview after the debate, he and Hanner said they did not want to change the process, despite what the post appeared to say.

“That office is run by professionals from that industry,” Hanner said. “It’s really important that any changes come internally. They know what they’re doing.”

Gomez acknowledged during the debate that his post “was problematic.” He said that in the future, he would seek to educate himself before making such statements.

“I’ve learned so much just from this, but even more so, I’ve learned who the people are that I can reach out to (to educate myself), maybe prior to talking about these things,” he said.

Gomez and Hanner also echoed many other students’ sentiments in saying administrators needed to do more to address issues on campus.

“We haven’t heard much from Chancellor Loftin; we haven’t heard much from administration in general,” he said. “It would be nice to get an email or some sort of communication from them about what they are actively doing (to address issues such as racism on campus).”

Another issue the candidates discussed was mental health. Hanner said he thought the MU Counseling Center was “wildly underfunded” and that its funding should be increased by the Student Fee Review Committee.

Several times during the debate, Gomez and Hanner said that they had already reached out to the social justice centers when working on their platforms. Hanner said this would give them a head start should they be elected.

“If you don’t have these conversations now, you have to do the exact same thing when you get into office,” Hanner said. “We’re going to be able to go in and get to work right away.”

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