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Saturday, July 11, 2020

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#ForTheStudents presidential candidate talks campus sexual assault reform


One of Isaiah Martin's objectives as SGA president would be to provide free rape kits to victims of sexual assault. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

One of Isaiah Martin’s objectives as SGA president would be to provide free rape kits to victims of sexual assault. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

SGA presidential candidate and political science and finance junior Isaiah Martin in his campaign is focused on issues he believes are causing the University to be looked at as lower than other universities in the state, including student retention and safety. 

A conversation Martin had with his friends about how the University compares to others in Texas led him down a road of research. Martin looked into SGA initiatives centered around on student retention, the response to sexual assault and student safety on campus. 

After researching the issues and what SGA has done on previous years, Martin said he felt that not enough had been done to combat these problems. 

These findings pushed Martin to launch his campaign with the #ForTheStudents party, his vice presidential running mate Wassem Sarakbi by his side 

Despite having no prior involvement in SGA, Martin feels the experience he gained through creating a youth sports organization prepared him for the position. 

“I believe that my experience in business, particularly with team building, will allow for a positive term in office,” Martin said.

During his term, Martin plans to focus on three targets. The first of these is to improve the University’s graduation rate by creating what he’s dubbed the Cub to Coog program. 

“It basically takes the orientation experience past the first two days that freshmen go through in the summer and really extends through their first semester,” Martin said. “We believe that if we can expand that freshman orientation past the first semester, that will encourage more students to stay in school.” 

Martin’s second objective focuses on the response to sexual assault in providing free rape kits to victims of sexual assault. 

“With our sexual assault platform, that basically ensures that every victim of sexual assault not only understands the next steps but we also want to ensure that rape kits are provided free on campus to all victims,” Martin said. 

His third goal is improving campus safety through collaboration with UHPD. 

“It’s really about just fostering that relationship with UHPD to understand exactly the concerns our students have and exactly where they feel unsafe and try to make sure that they’re present in areas that students feel affected,” Martin said. 

In addition to having a desire to effect change within the University community, Martin also wants to change the SGA organization itself. 

“The main thing that I also want to go through is just bringing in a new era of SGA, a new era in which students look at SGA as an organization that stands for them, as an organization that is there for them and isn’t just an organization that has drama,” Martin said. “We want to change that stigma and bring a new era and just advocate for what’s best for the students.” 

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