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Opinion: Campaign staffer makes case for Dan Williams, Lauren Lyness SGA ticket

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Lyness and Williams

Lauren Lyness and Dan Williams are running for SGA president and vice president.

Dan Williams is a political science junior. During his time at OU, he has served in the Student Government Association for more than two years — proposing and passing dozens of pieces of legislation. He’s served with several service organizations on campus, such as Alpha Phi Omega, Soonerthon, Union Programming Board and Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature. Outside of OU, Williams performed more than 1,500 hours of service for the community in the last semester alone.

However, Williams’s experience with the government is not limited to the academic arena. Williams has been advocating for OU’s students at local government functions as well, most recently presenting his Henderson Street Resolution to the Norman City Council. This resolution is the most recent of Williams’s legislation to make it through the undergraduate and graduate branches of student government, and expresses the support of the university’s students to changing DeBarr Street — a street named after a former Grand Dragon of the KKK — to Henderson Street, named for a local civil rights leader. In addition, he has served in leadership positions for the Boy Scouts of America for the past six years, most recently serving as Communications Director for the Southern Region, the national-level administration for 13 states.

Lauren Lyness is a political science and history sophomore. She currently works in the interior under the president and vice president of SGA and serves in the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislatures as Director of Legislation. Her experience in mock and active governments throughout high school and on campus equips Lyness with years of experience with government functions and directions. She’s an active member in Alpha Lambda Delta and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Lyness’s service is also not limited to just on-campus activities. One of Lyness's major concerns is the underrepresentation and silencing of those with mental health issues and thus serves as an advocate for mental health care on campus. She also participated in the protests against DeBarr street that took place earlier this year.

Williams and Lyness will run their campaign on the promise of creating a stronger relationship between SGA and both the OU student body and the city of Norman. Their platform focuses on issues they see as affecting every student on campus in some way: improving mental health care access for students, increasing resources for victims of sexual assault and creating a more environmentally sustainable campus. 

The Williams/Lyness campaign claims that the mental health care system at OU is ineffective and states that some students currently have to wait as long as six weeks for an appointment at Goddard Health Center. Williams and Lyness will not stand for this, stating that a wait time of that length is absolutely unacceptable for students with mental health issues. They plan on advocating for the hiring of a social worker at Goddard, allowing more time for the doctors to focus on their patients, rather than paperwork. Using models of mental health care provided by the other Big 12 schools such as UT Austin, this reform will reap substantial benefit at a small cost, they claim.

In light of the recent Title IX roll back, the Williams/Lyness campaign will also focus on allocating resources for combating sexual assault, a move that will include reinstating the protections provided by the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and creating a safer campus as a result. 

The improvement of environmental sustainability and preservation of the campus’ beauty is the third main plank in the Williams/Lyness Campaign’s platform.  Williams and Lyness plan on implementing a recycling program in the greek community, as well as making composting available on campus. They also want to repair the broken sprinklers around campus to reduce water wasting. Ultimately, creating an energy-efficient campus will create a cost-efficient campus, their campaign states. 

Williams and Lyness want to work hard at work worth doing. They promise that their campaign will be run with the interests of the entirety of the student population in mind.

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