Spillers discusses SGA plans after setbacksBy Alana Norris | 04/08/2015 10:31pm
Although his schedule has gotten busier since being elected SGA president last month, Elliot Spillers is eager to begin work. CW | Danielle Parker
After being elected last month and being inaugurated last week, Elliot Spillers said he is eager to get to work for the student body as the SGA president.
Spillers said his life has gotten a lot busier since his election. His network has grown locally, statewide and even nationally with people wanting to talk to him about the issues at the University and how he plans to solve them. Organizing his schedule and keeping balance have become a new challenge for him as he transitions into office.
He said his top priority is creating a culture of inclusivity on campus.
“That’s the hope that got me elected into office,” Spillers said.
After meeting with David Grady, the new vice president of student affairs, Spillers said he was encouraged that Grady also mentioned his desire for an inclusive campus to help retain students and create a home at the University.
Spillers said he is now starting projects on bystander prevention training for sexual assault and mental illness. He has contacted housing, First Year Experience and other organizations to get student leaders across campus trained by the fall semester.
“By fall we hope to have all the leaders across campus trained on what mental illness looks like, how to prevent sexual assault from happening across campus, creating that culture of caring that I really want to try and bring here to UA,” he said.
He said he is pushing for is an appointed position in the SGA called director of multicultural affairs. This position would advocate for all minority groups under the Source. Spillers named multiple universities that have this position.
“It’s not going to be easy, I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I know that with our team we will accomplish a lot and from the SGA office you can expect to see a lot of policy changes and a lot of changes and shifts in our culture on campus starting within this office,” Spillers said.
Many of these projects will come to a halt without a chief of staff, which must be appointed before other appointments can be made. On Tuesday, the Senate voted down Spillers’ first nomination of Chisolm Allenlundy for chief of staff.
Spillers’ campaign manager Mark Hammontree said he does not understand why Allenlundy was denied.
“The only reason for not confirming ostensibly would be some real justifiable ethical or moral concern, which there is not any,” Hammontree said. “There are no other qualified candidates that would be a better fit for Elliot’s administration than Chisolm.”
Spillers said Allenlundy is qualified because he has served in SGA for three years among other positions on campus. He was on the lobby board his freshman year, and then he was elected as an Arts and Sciences senator his sophomore year, where he started the Campus Kitchens initiative to fight food insecurity on campus.
“It’s reasons like this that affirm to me why I ran for SGA president, because there are a lot of injustices within SGA that don’t make any sense,” Spillers said. “I’m trying to find some reasoning for them not confirming him, but I can’t find any right now. Until he is confirmed, nothing in SGA will happen.”
Spillers said he will continue to nominate Allenlundy for the position.
“Chief of staff is my appointment, that’s my decision,” Spillers said. “I’m not willing to give that up.”
Spillers said he feels the executive council has a great dynamic. He said he has enjoyed building a relationship with the members of the council and they have found common ground.
“It’s an honor for me, in particular because the student body has chosen me to represent them in this office,” Spillers said. “They expect a lot from me, and I want to give them what they expect and more.”