SGA takes to Facebook live for candidate forum


Screenshots from the Facebook live event Sunday afternoon.

by Amelia Schafer, News Editor

The Simpson College Student Government Association went live on Facebook Sunday afternoon for the student body president and vice president forum. 

Students were allowed to ask candidates questions via the comment section on the live video. 

Pascasie Redhage is running for president with Drake Wood as her running mate for vice president. Jorge Castelan is running for president with Chase Henry as his vice president. Tatum Clayburn is running solo for vice president.

Clayburn was unable to attend the event. 

Castelan is the current student body vice president, Clayburn is the current junior class president, Henry is the current sophomore class president, Redhage and Wood are current class senators. 

Similar to last year, inclusivity and equity were common topics of the forum. 

Henry stated that while he is not directly involved in the Black Student Union or International Student Organization, he thinks that SGA still maintains a diverse view of information through members who are in those clubs. He also stated that creating an off-campus diversity, equity, and inclusion board was a big first step in advocating for students of color. 

Redhage stated that she is involved in the Black Student Union, Multicultural Student Alliance, International Student Organization, and Latinos Unidos and knows what’s going on in each organization.

Redhage and Wood’s poster for their election campaign.

Redhage also stated that while the off-campus DEI is a good first step, the number of students involved needs to increase to allow for student voices to be heard all the time. 

“Having that direct representation of students themselves to advocate on their own behalf is super important because as much as they could tell me what they wanted, they know their own issues better than I would ever know,” Redhage said. 

Castelan said he wants to have SGA become more of a liaison between groups on campus to bring them together. 

“Many students who don’t listen to the minutes or check their email, but if their coach tells them this, they’ll listen because they’re there. It’s more coming to you in a personal fashion,” Castelan said. 

Wood brought up the removal of DEI updates from the campus pulse. DEI updates are what sparked the creation of the campus pulse but have since been removed. 

“I think that is a huge problem that paints a broader picture of the lack of transparency that’s coming from our administration, the board of trustees, and the president,” Wood said. “Those updates were promised to us by President Kelliher. This shows a huge red flag in the lack of transparency that’s happening on this campus in general.” 

Wood also pledged to do better as an individual to uplift minority voices. 

COVID-19 and mental health were also prominent conversations during the forum. 

All candidates pushed for more mental health resources and mental health awareness on campus. 

Redhage stated she felt that a lack of flexibility from professors and administration in regards to students dealing with the effects of COVID-19 was an issue. 

“Obviously, what we’re doing isn’t working. We went back to orange [phase], and we’re still seeing cases every day. Students are being hurt by what we are doing, and to a lot of us, it feels like no one cares,” Redhage said.

Castelan and Henry’s poster for their election campaign.

Castelan said he felt like mental health was the biggest concern regarding COVID-19 at this campus. 

“There’s a lot of evidence that goes back to contact training that the school environment and going to classes isn’t what’s causing the spread, so I want to make that clear because with regards to actual COVID spread, the school has I think done a very good job in relation to our American Rivers Conference counterparts,” Castelan said.

Castelan also proposed a possible direct line the Active Minds to allow for more mental health resources. 

Wood followed up by commenting on the mental health of high-risk students forced to attend in-person classes and the lack of breaks in the upcoming spring semester. 

“We no longer have a spring break, which is probably smart because that way, we make sure we reduce the risk of bringing COVID to campus, but the problem is that’s less days that students get a break from actually going to class,” Wood said.
Wood proposes more mental health days in addition to the current three scheduled for next semester. 

Henry stated his biggest concerns are professors not utilizing hybrid classes or integrating Zoom into their current teaching methods and mental health issues. 

Henry also showed support for Castelan’s proposal to allow for more mental health resources. 

Finally, candidates were asked to address why they felt they were the best for their respective positions. 

Redhage and Wood stated they seek to make students feel welcome. 

Wood commented that he is passionate and driven to make the college a prosperous place for learning.

Redhage stated that she would advocate for the student body regardless of her beliefs to make the campus a safer place. 

Castelan and Henry touted their experience as part of SGA’s executive board and love for Simpson and its students. 

Castelan stated that he wants to create an environment that will build morale and encourage students’ long-term success. 

Elections begin Monday, Nov. 16, at noon and will conclude Nov. 23.