1. How will you raise or otherwise improve the profile of TLS as SBA President?
I believe that the answer to this question is central to many of the things I would like to accomplish. Community service, in short, is the best way to raise Tulane’s public profile in a positive way.
First of all, I will bring a renewed and strengthened commitment to community service. I propose a budget incentive for student organizations that show an exemplary commitment to community service. Also, I am dedicated to creating more diverse pro-bono opportunities. Specifically, I want to create opportunities for Tulane Law students to work with local LAW FIRMS in their pro-bono programs. This would not only allow our students more programs to choose from, but it would also be a great way for some of our students to get exposure in the job market.
I would also like to continue to develop our relationship with our current contacts in the community. Specifically, I am talking about Langston Hughes Academy and the Mayor’s Office, among many others. We have had successful community service projects with both entities, and we can strengthen those ties by extending our commitments to them beyond this past school year. I am also adamant about working with the relevant people in the administration to make sure news and other media outlets are taking notice of Tulane Law School’s work in the community.
2. What is your take on the current state of the SBA's relationship with the administration? Is there a need for improvement? If not, what do you think is the one thing students don't realize about SBA/admin. interaction? If so, what concrete steps will you take to improve student representation to the administration?
I think there is room for improvement. I think many of our students have raised very real concerns about the need for increased transparency between the administration and the SBA. This is something I would strive to improve, and I do think that having a good relationship with the administration (especially developed over this past year on SBA Executive Board) will be crucial to accomplishing this goal in a non-adversarial way. That said, I think the administration is far more helpful than the student body realizes. Some of the things that are kept private by the administration are for legitimate legal and/or ethical reasons.
3. Would you support an amendment to the SBA Constitution requiring a vote of the student body to ratify amendments to the SBA Constitution? If so, would you support a built in requirement that such plebiscites require participation by at least 30% of the student body to be valid?
Absolutely. I have heard criticism about the recent amendments, and I would like to be very clear about my position on this issue. I voted for the amendments, and there is no doubt that they were passed correctly and appropriately under the current SBA constitution. That said, I am completely behind an amendment to the SBA Constitution requiring the student body to ratify what the general assembly proposes. I wouldn’t commit myself to the 30% number (maybe we should strive for higher participation) but the details can be hammered out during the fall semester.
4. What specific lessons did you learn from the SBA's experiences in the past year? How will you incorporate those lessons into your position of leadership?
I think that more thought and attention can be put towards community service. A few of SBA’s community service projects were very poorly attended. I think that this was primarily due to a communication breakdown between SBA and the student body. Better advertisement and a change in SBA’s approach to community service will really have a great impact. If we start viewing community service as a significant goal as opposed to a requirement, I think the student body will respond in kind.
If given the opportunity to serve as SBA President, my attention (to community service and all my other initiatives) will begin IMMEDIATELY. We need to overhaul the transition process for student organizations so that incoming officers are adequately prepared for the tasks and challenges they will face during the upcoming year. Transition workshops, that myself along with members of the new executive board will put together over the summer, will take place during the first two weeks of school at various times to ensure everyone can attend. Beyond this, I will commit myself to weekly office hours so that I am available to answer your questions as they pop up at school. Also, I’m blessed/cursed with a Blackberry, so I can literally be reached 24 hours a day via email.
That commitment and attention does not stop there. I am also proposing that class officers hold monthly town-hall meetings. This was an idea floated around SBA this year, but I would like to make it mandatory for the officers to do this. This policy would increase transparency and would allow students more structured access to their representatives.
Also, I think it is obvious that all members of SBA (or anyone else who represents Tulane Law in any capacity) will be more cautious about the choices we make in our personal, private lives.
5. Briefly, lest we get ahead of ourselves, why should we care about SBA? What does it do for us? What's at stake?
I really encourage people to take the time to ask this question to any of the student organization leaders. SBA is the umbrella organization for almost all Tulane Law School student organizations. As such, we control funding and budgets, and have a unique ability to organize school-wide (as well as inter-graduate school) activities. These activities range from social events to community service projects, and often include initiatives like the upcoming ABA Mental Health Day.
6. What else would you like to tell us...in 50 words? And don't repeat anything from your candidate statement.
I am committed to this school and these goals. If elected, I do believe that this commitment will go beyond next year. I am serious about this. I plan on practicing in New Orleans, and I will continue to strive to raise our profile here and nationally.
7. Did you take the shoe?
Not that easy. I am actually a member of an international syndicate that has loose ties to Pee-Wee Herman and a number of “MR’s” other competitors. (MR is how he is known in the scene) We will neither confirm nor deny our involvement in any shoe incident, however we would like to firmly state our opinion that he had it coming.