TCU’s Student Government Association Presidential Candidate, Michael McCluskey, sat down with The Freedom Frog Tuesday to discuss his plans to bring balance and dialogue to the seemingly liberal leaning SGA.
McCluskey, a sophomore political science major, explained that while growing up in Marietta, Georgia, he was used to the idea of groups with opposing viewpoints existing in harmony. After two years in Fort Worth, he noticed that wasn’t necessarily the case on TCU’s campus.
“Here it is a little more polarized between right and left. People talk past each other,” said McCluskey. “I don’t see that healthy for a community that is aspiring to go out and be ethical leaders in the world. If you’re going to go out and do that, make sure you know how to have responsible dialogue and how to address issues. It’s time to put conservatives and the left in conversation with one another.”
McCluskey believes the way to bring more intellectual diversity to campus is to engage different groups in conversation, and if elected, he plans to make equal representation a cornerstone of his agenda.
“My approach to funding in the future will be that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this for both sides, like a debate,” he explained. “We’re going to make sure that everyone is represented fairly and equally.”
Despite being an underclassman, McCluskey has an impressive resume. As a freshman, he represented TCU at the annual Big 12 Conference. He also served as the campaign manager for a popular SGA officer campaign last spring.
McCluskey also told The FF that he plans to address the issue of under-representation of all students, particularly conservative students, in the SGA. “It’s hard to get students to want to buy into a body that they feel they haven’t been a part of before, or that they feel doesn’t represent their views. It’s not that SGA is against conservative students, it’s just that we need to learn how to get into the race.”
An additional example of misrepresentation within the SGA that McCluskey addressed was the number of SGA seats the honors college holds. “The honors college is allotted 8 seats despite not being a primary academic school,” he explained. “In essence, honors students are represented 3 times by their class, by the honors college, and then again by their major, whereas the normal student who isn’t in the honors college is only represented twice.”
When it comes to the recent campus tobacco ban that was passed by SGA, McCluskey quoted political philosopher John Stuart Mills. “If it’s other regarding, that’s a conversation. If it’s self-regarding, like smokeless tobacco, where the individual is only harming themselves, at that point, its personal discretion.”
McCluskey said although he believes that a ban on tobacco products that produce second-hand smoke was worth a discussion, TCU SGA didn’t fully consider the opinions of the student body before adopting the new comprehensive tobacco ban.
“My biggest issue with the smoking ban and the way it was voted was, in fact, the way it was voted. It was not representative of all students,” he said, referring to the success and traction of the ‘Toads for Stoages’ protest that went seemingly unrecognized and had no impact on SGA’s decision. “If you look at the composition of the house of representatives, I don’t think it adequately represents all the political views.”
“At the end of the day, I want to make sure everyone knows the goal of the president is not to enact all the flashy policies. I’m not going to get you more time at recess. I’m not going to get you ice cream in the cafeteria,” concluded McCluskey. “My job is going to be to advocate for students to the administration and make sure the administration is hearing a fair and balanced voice.”
To learn more about Michael and his platform, visit the campaign’s Facebook page. Voting for the SGA election begins on Thursday morning and lasts throughout the day.