Candidate Q&A: Markley Rogers
What follows is a partial transcription of an interview The Daily Cougar conducted with SGA presidential candidate, Markley Rogers. Each of the SGA presidential candidates will be featured in our “Candidate Q&A” series this week.
The Daily Cougar: What are three things the voters should know about you?
Markley Rogers: Well, the first is something I have in common with everyone on campus — I love the University of Houston.
The second is that I have a record of service to the University. When Gov. Perry was proposing budget cuts to higher education, I used my capacity as associate director of external affairs with SGA to organize a rather sizable group of students to go up to the capitol during spring break and we met with every representative and every senator in the Texas congress and spoke to them about the budget cuts and proposed methods that could lessen the blow to the University of Houston.
And third would be that I have the capacity to do good things for the University, and I’m wanting to get elected so that I can have the means by which to use it. Right now I don’t have that much authority in the University, but I know if I were to be elected I could benefit the campus.
TDC: What qualifies to you be president?
MR: I have built relationships with people in the administration and I’ve built plenty of relationships with people outside administration. Working in my capacity of associate director of external affairs, my job was to be the liaison between the Student Government Association and the outside world. So I spoke with people in the capitol; I spoke with local businesses. So, I have experience being a liaison.
Also, Connor Clifton, Matt Womack and myself founded Coog Radio, and through doing that, I built relationships with people like Dr. Carlucci and Elwyn Lee. I met with Renu Khator. So, I already have a set relationship with these people. If I were elected, I would already have a launch pad for myself. So I would be able to go in with guns blazing, if you will.
TDC: If you were elected, what would change? How would having you as president be different from having Michael Harding as president?
MR: My main thing — my slogan for the campaign — is “Breaking barriers for better access.” My goal in SGA is to meet with the student body, to hear what the student body wants and to accomplish that through whatever means I can. I’m not saying that electing me will make the campus’ dreams come true, but through whatever means are available to me, I will accomplish what the student body wants.
So I guess a difference between my administration and Michael Harding’s would be greater communication with the student body … I don’t think there’s ready communication available to the student body if they see an issue. Where do they go? Who do they talk to? I want to be that guy. That’s what I want to bring to the table.
TDC: And how would you achieve that communication?
MR: Well, there’s referendums, there’s office hours. The president of SGA has an email address where if you have issues, you can email him, but I don’t think the bulk of the student population is aware of that. I want to make that apparent.
Also it’s slightly difficult to get an appointment with the SGA president … I will be available. I will be accessible and through me, the administration will be accessible. And — a side effect of that — when all covers are removed, through accessibility comes greater accountability. I will be directly accountable to the student body. So if I’m not doing something right, through these appointments and these emails, they can let me know.
TDC: You mentioned parking, and rising tuition has been mentioned by other candidates. What can you realistically do about these problems as president?
MR: If I go with a proposal, I’ll be heard … If the student body says ‘we will accept the rise, whatever it may be, in parking permits; we will accept the rise, whatever it may be, in parking tickets,’ if the student body will say that, we can build two more parking garages, we can build four, we can build 10. It all comes down to money.
As far as tuition goes, that’s a different story. Now that we have received the title of a Tier One university in Texas — and since the referendum has already passed to build a new stadium and to renovate Hofheinz Pavilion — that tuition increase is there. It’s much more difficult to lower tuition.
TDC: If elected, what would be the first steps that you take towards becoming more available and towards letting the students know you’re there?
MR: Walking the campus isn’t going to end after campaigning ends. I’m going to be out there handing out cards with my office number and my email address on them.
With my capacity as president, should I be elected I’ll create an accessibility committee — you can create all the committees you want in the executive branch — just kind of as feelers out in the community, asking ‘what concerns you, and what would be an acceptable remedy to this?’
I just want to remove whatever barrier there may be between me and the student body so that anyone can come talk to me … I just want greater openness between the administration and the student body. I can and will fill that capacity as liaison.
For more information on this and other candidates, go to thedailycougar.com/tags/sga2012.