SGA elections 2017: SGA President Mariame Dangnokho cares

Dangnokho discusses last year’s election, plans for term

By Max Brilliant

The cover story on last April’s edition of The UB Post is “SGA 2017 elections: who really cares?” The publication of this story is evidence that at least Grad Student Wes Cooper cares about the lack of competition for student office. In an absurdly long interview, one hour and ten ½ minutes (which will be posted on the UBPost website as a podcast), Dangnokho tells of her track record on the SGA, life and what she plans to accomplish as president.

After the interview, I asked Dangnokho if we could talk about the circumstances surrounding her decision to run unopposed. I spoke first, telling her how I felt voting for unopposed candidates almost all the way down the ballot in the year 2017, how it was hard to do after voting in such a ruined electoral process last November.

She could have walked out, but she listened to everything I had to say. She said that she did not consider stalling SGA election until someone signed up to oppose her because there was no guarantee that someone would. In the only SGA election results available on ubalt.edu (2015, most ran unopposed. After some speculating out loud, she came back to why she ran for SGA President in the first place: she has a vision that she wants University of Baltimore to attain.

Dangnokho read to me three points from the SGA platform before it was released. At this point they had found where certain problems lie, and now they are at a stage where they can put into writing their intended result. The platform includes increasing UB pride, increasing the retention rate, and academic success in terms of employability. SGA wants to see every major at UB require an internship.

Dagnokho also wants to start a campus wide discussion about student housing. She plans to tell President Schmoke how she feels about improving the relationship with UB and The Varsity on Biddle.

This will not be her first experience being a gadfly to UB faculty or even the SGA. She said that she “met opposition from faculty” for introducing a bereavement policy, which has helped many UB students make up work after mourning the loss of a loved one. During the election, other candidates ran on a promise to lower tuition, and Dagnokho said that UB is very affordable compared to other colleges.

Other legislation that Dagnokho highlighted in her interview was the expansion of the Game Room into Game Rooms North and South, and a Cap and Gown Policy where graduating seniors who cannot afford to pay the fee for a cap and gown can borrow one.

The UB community does not know about the research involved in making legislation for student government. The UB Post will highlight the hard work that the SGA does, and to that extent Dangnokho promised that reducing the number of uncontested SGA elections will be part of her vision for UB.

From what I could tell by how she talked about her life before college, she did not take many risks. I asked, “was there ever a time when your teachers would worry about you?” She replied, “maybe for talking in class.” She highlighted her community service that she did in middle school and her love of reading. She is now the SGA President, and intends on getting the school into business deals and changing the curriculum of every major.

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