MSA Presidential Candidate Profile: Cameron Holl

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David Blondin

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“My name is Cameron Holl and I am a junior in History, Philosophy, and Political Science.”

Q: What is your previous experience with MSA?

A: I started out as a freshman intern my first year in MSA. That same year I was also the Middlebrook Hall student representative. So I represented all the students who lived in Middlebrook Hall my first year. Then, the past two years I have been a CLA student senator.

Q: What are you most proud to have been a part of in your time here at UMN?

A: In MSA I have always seen myself as somebody who has been willing to bring up points that not everybody else may agree with, whether that’s in forum or with members of the leadership team. In terms of what I’ve done on campus I think my proudest moment was probably standing at convocation last summer being an orientation leader and seeing all the students that I and the group of twenty eight orientation leaders had introduced to university community. That was one of my proudest moments.

Q: Why do you want to be MSA president?

A: That’s a good question, and it’s a difficult one to answer because there are so many different aspects to why I want to do it. I guess it starts with I want to make campus a better place. I want to focus the MSA vision on the day to day lives of students and improving the student experience by increasing mental health awareness and resources, keeping the cost of college down, and focusing on sexual assault awareness and prevention. I think my qualifications are good, and I think I’d be best at it is because of my running mate Nidhi Khurana. She has real world political experience, she knows how to lobby, and she is just a fantastic candidate as well.

Q: Will you here and now support freedom of speech on campus?

A: Absolutely and unequivocally. As I said in the debate I think that challenging your ideas and having your ideas challenged is a part of college. So, I think that freedom of speech is the most important thing, and this is something that I have advocated in forum as well. When I ran for speaker of the forum last year one of the things I said is I don’t think we should restrict the number of representatives; in terms of student group representatives, because I think that it is important that every student has an avenue in forum that they can voice their opinion in student government.

Q: Are you running a slate of candidates this year? And why or why not?

A: No I’m not, and the reason why not is that I think that having a slate of candidates really contributes to a culture of MSA that has similar mindset, a group think mindset if you will. I think that not having a slate of candidates allows for the most qualified people to be elected and not just because of the person at the top of the ticket of the slate.

Q: How will you respond to conflicts between MSA and the administration, or President Kaler, such as what occurred with the BDS decision?

A: “It’s a little tricky, and I think we need to strike a balance between being cooperative with the administration so that they understand that you are working for the same thing; and advocating for students and challenging things when they need to be challenged. My personal leadership style has challenged the process and that is something that I have taken on in almost any leadership position that I have had. I’ve always wanted to try to mix things up a little bit and cause a little ruckus in the right way, in the way that’s going to get things done and make the situation better. In terms of dealing with administration on controversial topics, I think that talking with them, hearing their opinions is good, but ultimately I’m going to go off what students tell me and what forum votes on; and, I think that’s the stance that we should take. It is a difficult balance between cooperation and challenging them to make changes, but I think at the end of the day that listening to the student voices is going to be the best way to attack that.

Q: What do you think about the MSA’s executive board’s decisions to act unilaterally in some cases; including affirmative consent and the official student government status that they now have?

A: I think that the official student government status is probably a good move. I think that will give MSA, as well as PSG, and COGS a little bit more authority with student issues. Up to this point there wasn’t anything distinguishing MSA from any other club on campus, all 900 of them. So, I think that was a good move and I think most members of MSA would recognize that as something they were confident about. It seems like it was a common sense decision so I’m not worried about that one. In terms of the Affirmative Consent action, it’s difficult because it was taken over the summer. That whole process was dealt with over the summer, so it’s a lot more challenging because you can’t hear forum’s input on it, but they did go through forum originally to say ‘hey we want to work on this issue, we want to have forum’s authority to be in conversation with administration on this.’ Forum did vote for that resolution to pass. So, I think they acted a little bit under forum’s authority, but it’s again over the summer so it’s a little bit of a trickier balance there, but I think if I’m to be elected you will have some authority to say ‘The student body chose me to be their representative so I can speak with more authority than the average student.’