Taliyah Daniels and Yamil Hernández Sánchez were announced as President and Vice President for the 2022-2023 academic year. PN Photos/Andrew Thrift

By Andrew Thrift, Copy Chief

Taliyah Daniels and Yamilkal Hernández Sánchez were voted SGA president and vice president for the 2022-23 school year.

The SGA candidates participated in a debate prior to the election on March 29.

Presidential and vice presidential candidates discussed student concerns before casting their ballots.

The slate of Aspen Andersson and Whitney Peck ran against Taliyah Daniels and Yamil Hernández Sánchez in the hopes to be the next Student Body President of UNCP.

Current President Dana Hunt-Locklear and Vice President Ashanti Hendricks graduate this spring, leaving those positions open.

Students filled Upchurch Auditorium at Thomas Hall for the debate. Organizations like Alpha Kappa Alpha wore “Don’t be silly, vote for Tilly” shirts to support their sorority sister Daniels.

Hendricks was the moderator of the debate. The debate started with a question for Daniels-Hernández Sánchez on what their platform stands for and what they will implement. They said they hope to make a wholesome and inclusive campus.

“I hosted the Hispanic Town Hall here on campus. We had students, faculty and staff attend the meeting and talk about what they want to see here on campus,” Hernández Sánchez said.

The Andersson-Peck platform supports working with the NAACP and NASO, giving them a voice through their platform. They also want to build a diverse executive team so everyone can feel like they can have their voices heard.

Andersson said that she wants the student body to look at them and feel like they are represented through town halls, services and training.

Daniels said that UNCP is a multicultural campus and wants to improve the lives of those groups here. Making all students have a place.

Hernández Sánchez said that students need to become more involved. He said that since he was here pre-COVID, he got to see first hand the true life of UNCP and he wants to get that back.

“When you go to class, you see a little bit of everyone. Race, sexuality, ethnicity, we have it all,” Hernández Sánchez said.

Daniels said she was able to attend the Hispanic Town Hall. She said she learned a lot of students here on campus don’t have English as their first language and have a lot of problems when they go to offices, like the financial aid office.

“We need to look into translators so everyone has a voice here and can make their voices heard,” Daniels said.

Hendricks asked Andersson-Peck what the biggest issue with students here on campus is and how can you change it. Andersson-Peck said they feel that students don’t know what SGA actually does.

“They don’t know who to go to. We want to promote student organizations,” Andersson said.

Peck is a peer tutor. She feels like students need to know the resources they have available to them. “When students feel they are doing well, they feel like they can go out, join student organizations, and feel like they belong here at UNCP,” Peck said.

“We aren’t guaranteed a job after we graduate,” Sanchez said. He said he wants paid internships for students, so they feel like there is value in their work. He wants employers to recognize UNCP students as viable candidates.

“We want to make a council with student organizations with SGA as the head. They hope to have each organization have their voices heard between one another. We want to lay the groundwork to have an open conversation with faculty and students so students can have their needs met,” Peck said.