Members from almost every ticket that ran for Temple Student Government last year are present in the current administration, except for one: Take TU, which presented an anti-status-quo platform to students.
Of the four tickets, Empower TU won the general election, and hired students who ran in Believe in TU and Owl Opportunity. Student Body President Aron Cowen told The Temple News in August that each ticket was invited to apply for the positions within TSG administration.
“I don’t think any of [Take TU] was approached [formally] for a position, but we did acknowledge that we could apply for positions on the Parliament,” said Tina Ngo, a junior political science major who ran as president for Take TU. “I don’t know if we would have gotten [the position].”
Members of the other tickets could have also applied for a position as a director for various programs and outreach around the university. Ngo said she was approached unofficially to apply for Director of Local and Community Affairs, but did not remember who offered it. She did not apply.
She said her main focus was being involved in the community through activist groups like the Stadium Stompers, a group made up of students and community members that is opposed to the construction of the proposed on-campus football stadium.
“I just didn’t think that I would have been able to do much with TSG,” Ngo said. “I didn’t want to position myself where I would have to work on something I didn’t believe in.”
“I would consider having my voice heard,” said Jared Dobkin, a senior political science major who ran as vice president of services for Take TU. “But I don’t think I would consider a position.”
Dobkin added that he never had “illusions of winning” the election in April. Dobkin said he believes that building community power and being involved in activist organizations is more important than a position on TSG, adding he would not have had the time to hold a position due to his two jobs and classes.
“We were seen as antagonizing, but really we just wanted to give a wakeup call to what we thought was going on in TSG,” said Isabella Jayme, a junior human development and community engagement major who ran as vice president of external affairs for Take TU. “How we believe that they weren’t doing a fair enough job of representing everyone in the school.”
“I think it was a good opportunity to shape the conversation around what students care about,” he said.
Take TU’s platform focused on community issues like the stadium and Temple’s involvement in a Title IX investigation.
“If I were to behave a certain way, I don’t believe in that,” said Ngo about being a director in TSG. “I think professionalism is ‘BS’ as long as you’re getting the job done.”
“Basically, one of the big skills you need is good team management because you’re given a focus area,” said John Jasionowicz, TSG’s director of campus security and safety. “And you may not be president or vice president, but you have a very vast area of expertise.”
Jasionowicz ran for president on the Believe in TU ticket.
Jasionowicz and Alexa Monteleone — one of TSG’s social media managers who ran as Believe in TU’s director of communications — said they believe the executive board chooses candidates who are the most skilled and experienced for the position and could bring the best possible outcome.
“They had a lot of applicants this year and it was up to the executive team to sit down with each student and decide who was qualified for each position,” Monteleone said. “Empower TU encouraged everyone from all teams to apply for positions … and right now I’m very happy with the role I’m serving and the people I’m working with.”
“It’s [Take TU’s] decision if they want to participate,” Jasionowicz said. “If they don’t want to be on the team directly, per se, they can still be on the Parliament. If they don’t want to be on the Parliament, they can still come to meetings with all of the other organizations.”
“It’s best to hear voices from all different campaign groups because I think we all brought our own unique dynamic to the table,” Monteleone said.
“The voices of [Take TU] needs to be heard because we are a student body and that’s what TSG is supposed to represent.”
Francesca Furey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.