The Ole Miss

Know Your 2017 ASB Candidates

ASB Elections will be open on your myOleMiss account on Tuesday, March 7 from 9am-5pm. You can access the ballot under the “Get Involved” tab after signing into your account.

Before you vote, make sure you know who you’re voting for. To make it easy, here’s a summary of each candidate’s platform and why they want to be your next ASB elected official.

All candidates are listed alphabetically by last name within the list of candidates in the position that they’re running for. The Ole Miss is not endorsing any candidates. All of the answers below were submitted by the candidates themselves, from a list of 4 questions emailed to them last week.

Emily Hoffman

Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Desired Position: President

My platform is about we as students and ASB leaving a social, philanthropic, financial, and caring legacy on this campus. I’ve got several new ideas such as a Rebel Reuse Store, a mental health awareness initiative called #HowAreYou, and bringing back Future Rebels Day that hopefully I’ll get to bring to the role of ASB President.

Something that students might not know about me is that I’m a Community Assistant (CA) in Pittman Hall and last year I was in Crosby Hall! I love being a CA because I get to get to know hundreds of freshmen and guide them through their first year of college.

Most of my experience has come from being an ASB Senator. In Senate I’ve reformed our elections procedures such as campaigning in residence halls, moving Senate elections to the Spring semester, and have been a Senate member of the Elections Commission Review Board. Additionally, I can look beyond our campus to see where we as ASB can improve. Last month I got to meet influential women in government as well as other women in student governments from across the US at Campus Women Lead which was hosted by Running Start and the National Collegiate Leadership Council. After researching other student governments extensively for my role as a Senator, I think that ASB has a tremendous potential to grow and impact more students by showing up for them and including them in the conversation. A lot of my platform was directly inspired by other great student governments such as Cal, USC, Notre Dame, and Florida.

I’ve been motivated to run for ASB President because of a comment that one of my mother’s friends wrote on my Facebook wall, “Run, Emily. Run! Run without fear to your goal to serve others. Run! And then put their needs above your own and go on to then help other women do the same. I believe in you!” Also I’ve been inspired by 2012-2013 ASB President Kim Dandridge, who was the last female ASB President the University has had. She brought about a lot of progress and I want to bring that back to ASB and the University.

Dion Kevin

Hometown: Oxford, MS
Desired Position: President

As a resident and active member of the Lafayette-Oxford-University community for over 21 years, my passion for our town and university has compelled me to lead and serve.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to close the gap between our community leadership and student leaders.  I believe that we students deserve a louder voice in our community, and I seek to ensure seats at the discussion table from City Hall to the Lyceum.  Similarly, many students feel disenfranchised and are disillusioned with the purpose of ASB.  I plan to push for more student body-wide referendums to make sure every student has the opportunity to voice their opinion.  In addition to this, I believe that there is incredible potential for the student body to impact the community in a greater capacity than we do now.  Service to the community has been an integral part of my life, and I seek to make it the mission of the University to encourage service among all of us.  We may all have our differences, but as ASB President I hope to unite us all with one common thread– that we all call Ole Miss and Oxford home, and that we are all LOU Rebs.

One thing many students don’t know about me is that my education started at Ole Miss at the age of 4 at Willie Price preschool, which is operated by the School of Education here.

I have served on every branch of ASB Government, from Vice-Chair of Government Operations committee on Senate, to Executive Liaison on the executive cabinet, to Deputy-Attorney General of Elections.  I also believe that my perspective as an Oxford native gives me a unique passion for Ole Miss and the community that others cannot promise.

I’m motivated to run for this position because I see the need for active leadership from someone who has a genuine passion for not just Ole Miss, but the community as a whole.  I see the potential for a stronger relationship between the University and the city built on service and student representation.  Finally, I hope to remind everyone of what we share, despite our differences, and encourage a deep appreciation for each other as citizens of this great LOU family.

Austin Spindler

Hometown: Savannah, Tennessee
Desired Position: President

I’m Austin Spindler, and I’m running to be the next ASB President. I have served constantly in our student government since I arrived on campus in 2014—as a senator my freshman year, a member of the Legislative Council my sophomore year, and currently in the Executive branch as our Secretary. These experiences have exposed me to both good and bad governance and have helped me understand that what our student body needs in a President is simply REASON. We need a president who is prepared to respect every unique belief in this community, who will efficiently use our resources to maximize the student experience and support existing student organizations, who will take action on behalf of us day in and day out to ensure we are better served, who makes sensible choices for our campus based on experience and logic, who will objectively listen to what we have to say, and who believes and understands that every voice is necessary in the decision-making process. I believe that the people of this university have shaped me into that Presidential candidate – a Rebel with Reason. My reason is each and every one of you, and I hope that on Tuesday, March 7th, I can be your reason, too.

My experiences qualify me for this position because I know how ASB works like the back of my hand – and it’s a complex organization, and through all the challenges that we face day in and day our, we won’t always get it right. But because of my experience and my determination in this organization, I’ll get up every day determined to ensure that this organization can be the collective voice of students in this university community, and that, together, we can make real impacts here.

One thing that other students don’t know about me is probably how much useless knowledge I have about Harry Potter — honestly, I’ve read each book at least three times since the series was finished.

Like I said in my platform, my motivation for running for this position is each and every student here. It should be our goal as a student body to uplift every voice and provide each student here with the capacity to succeed. When asked how your student government represented you, you should be proud to say that it represented you justly and served you selflessly — that’s why I am motivated to run, so that we can strive to achieve the purpose of our mission statement and live up to our fullest potential.

Matt Gladden

Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
Desired Position: Vice President

I am running on the platform of Get GLAD. Gracious, Loud, Ambitious, Dynamic. I’m trying to promote the idea that students need to be loud and ambitious about what they believe in, and I will do the same, if elected. I’ll also show my own ambition about student’s ideas and be loud to campus officials about what we think needs to be done. Especially with bills and resolutions passed through senate. Also, with having 24,250 students on campus from 50 states and 90 countries we must be dynamic to cater to all students. Lastly we must be gracious to every student, showing respect and dignity to everyone on campus and in the LOU community as our Creed states. I plan to get more ideas and student involvement by hosting monthly events on campus with senate, creating a senate email account for students to send into and adopting a senate philanthropy to benefit the LOU community and boost community involvement with senators.

Students probably don’t know that I used to have a horse…and compete in rodeos, barrel racing and running poles from around the age of 8 to about 14.

I have been able to serve on the Legislative Branch in one form or fashion for 3 years, under 3 Vice-Presidents. So I know what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, I have served on Legislative Council as parliamentarian for 2 years. This has allowed me to work with the Code and Constitution, in it’s ever changing state, and Robert’s Rules of Order for 2 years. I think this has prepared me for the job.

There are 24,250 reasons that I am motivated to run, and those are the students. I would not be going through a campaign if I didn’t care about the students. Students are the Associated Student Body, and I want to make sure people know that ASB is more than just an office in the Union and know that we are here to help every student we have.

Allison Hanby

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Desired Position: Vice President 

I want to accomplish two simple goals: 1) for ASB to be better connected with the student body and 2) to create a more unified student body. To accomplish this I am running on two simple hashtags #handsonwithhanby and #sharealittlelove. The first hashtag relates to connectivity. I promise to consistently reach out to the students. Additionally, I want to encourage them to reach out to me. It is hard to know how every student feels, but if I am more approachable and available, hopefully they will not hesitate to share their ideas. The second hashtag relates to kindness. I will strive to create a community that exemplifies the ideals of the Ole Miss family. Sometimes we grow too comfortable in our own friend groups and it can be intimidating to branch out. It is my hope that we are able to break these barriers with simple acts of kindness. This week I am encouraging students to show an act of kindness by sitting next to someone new in class, holding a door open, or simply lending an ear to a friend! It is my hope that everyone becomes friends with a new person this week.  

I used to figure skate competitively from the age of about 4 to fifteen. I guess you could say ice skating is my secret talent. I definitely miss ice skating sometimes, but I didn’t like how it could be isolating since it is a solo sport. I would much rather spend my time working with ASB senators and the student body. Another thing about me is that I can come across as quiet upon first impressions; however, I am not afraid to speak out. As a Public Policy Leadership major I am not afraid of public speaking, but I like to be well informed before articulating an opinion.

I have served on ASB Senate for the past three years. This past year I was elected to serve as President Pro Tempore within Senate. President Pro Tempore is the understudy to the Vice President. When the Vice President was unable to serve, I stepped in. I assisted with numerous pieces of legislation and aided in communication with members of administration. I have also served as chair as of the Committee on Infrastructure during the 2015-2016 term. It takes patience and determination to create a change on campus, especially in infrastructure, as these changes cannot happen overnight. These experiences have prepared me for the role of VP.

Serving on Senate means so much more than simply giving back to campus. In my opinion. serving on ASB is reaching out to as many students as possible. It is spreading joy or comfort to students with something as simple as providing scantrons or adding a crosswalk. It is listening to and respecting the opinions of the student body before making decisions. It is being a servant in order to be an efficient leader. My motivation is the student body. It is the opinions from people who are soft spoken and people who speak out. My motivation is the desire for all students to be heard. ASB is my absolute favorite pass-time, and I hope to continue serving through my involvement as Vice President.

Coco McDonnell

Norfolk, VA
ASB Vice President

“I KNOW Coco” is what I hope students are able to say when they vote tomorrow. KNOW is an acronym that stands for Keep, Next, Outreach, and Wellness. It’s about keeping the tradition and heritage of Ole Miss; moving on to what’s next; reaching out to students; and creating a culture of wellness (mental, physical, and social) on campus!

One thing other students don’t know about me is that I love England and I’d love to travel there someday!

As a current ASB Senator, I have grown to love representing my constituents. As Vice President, I would love to create an ASB Awareness campaign, which lets students know that the ASB exists to serve them, and also the fact that students can hold their senators and elected officials accountable.

I truly believe and KNOW that my platform points would be the priorities and heartbeat behind my vice presidential administration. With the VP title and a dedicated cabinet, I know we could truly effect change in these areas.

Elam Miller

Hometown: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Desired Position: Vice President 

I sincerely mean when I say that my platform is you. It’s for our Ole Miss family and the values that each of us have. The entire point of our ASB is to be able to bring the wide range of views throughout campus into one room and have discussions and debates on what we want to see from our University. If we continue to ignore groups, continue to accept ASB’s lack of effort to actually engage students, and don’t ensure that Senate seats are filled by community members that they are supposed to represent, then we will have missed the entire point of what ASB is supposed to be.

The student body and our Senators deserve the opportunity for fair debate on their beliefs. What I will bring is an assurance that before that debate begins, that our Senators are actually representing and communicating with their constituents. Before we can ever unify as a student body we have to ensure that every student adequately feels that they have representation and an opportunity for their voices to be heard. I will bring that to our Senate and hold the rest of the Executive Branch of ASB to these same ideals.

I’m a Wyldlife leader which means every week I meet three times a week with a group of thirty sixth grade boys. I mentor them, eat lunch with them, and just be there for them. It sounds so cheesy but it’s one of the favorite things that I do because it allows me to really reflect on my life. My two older sisters were always there for me to always listen and help guide me down the right path. To have the opportunity to do for others what my sisters did for me is something I’d never be able to do.

I’m the Senator for the College of Liberal Arts and am the Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee. I serve on the Rules and Ethics Committee which determines if each piece of legislation meets the standards set within our Code and Constitution before it can come before our Senate. My time in the Senate has been shorter than other candidates, but this is my greatest strength. I’m not locked into the comfortability that often sets within ASB officers. My knowledge of Senate and determination to advance Student’s voices makes me the best candidate for those who want a better ASB.

Jordan Coopwood

Hometown: Cleveland, MS
Desired Position: Secretary 

My platform includes but is not limited to: Increased communication between the student body and ASB, streamlined senate operations, and increased Ole Miss community involvement. To sum everything up, I want the students to always know what ASB is up to, what type of legislation is being drafted, and how their senators are representing them. By streamlined Senate operations, I mean to live stream Senate meetings on Facebook in real time for all who would like to watch, as well as make myself available to any student or faculty member who would like to be updated on previous meetings via phone, email, or a face to face meeting. Lastly, I would like to see more of the Ole Miss community try to run for Senate, attend ASB meetings, or simply take it upon themselves to keep up with us. I also plan to always communicate any business between the executive and legislative branches.

One thing students probably don’t know about me is that I am a third generation student from my family to attend Ole Miss!

My experience this school year as an Associated Student Body Senator on the External Affairs Committee has given me great experience. I have also been involved in other organizations on campus over my three years as an Ole Miss Rebel and believe all my past experience blended together has me prepared to serve the student body and faculty members as your next ASB Secretary.

I am motivated to run for this position because I want to work for my fellow students and contribute to making this campus in a better condition than I found it. I look forward to serving the student body and making common knowledge of how ASB is operating each week!

Dylan Samuel Wood

Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Desired Position: Secretary

My platform is simple, I want to bring accountability, awareness, and transparency to ASB. I want to keep up to date minutes, which has not been done and are not easily found if you don’t know where to look. I want to make everything ASB does more known to the student body. This could be done a number of ways whether it be an opt-in e-mail of the main points discussed in senate or a live stream of senate meetings. I want to help students hold their senators accountable by publicizing office hours, as well as who skips their office hours. There should be a public record of the way senators vote that is easily accessible to the students. I really just want to tear down the curtain and let students know what ASB is voting on so that students can tell senators how to vote before bills come to the senate floor.

One thing the student body probably doesn’t know about me is that I actually strive to be civil and fair to everyone. I enjoy debating hot button topics, but I am not so narrow-minded that I can’t admit when I’m wrong. I want the student body to know that I want to make OleMiss a better place for all students, where each student can be proud of what makes them who they are. A place where no one has to be afraid of whether or not the things they’re proud of will be accepted.

I have one year experience working on ASB as a senator, but I also have great planning experience from my time as an SI leader. Planning out weekly SI sessions has made me far more organized. In addition, my time as an SI leader has made me more efficient at communicating knowledge to students. As Secretary, I would be responsible for keeping the minutes well organized as well as making sure they reach the student body and inform them as to what ASB is doing.

I am motivated to run for this position because I got tired of how poor of a job I felt ASB was doing at communicating with their constituents. I ran for senate wanting to change that, but I feel that there must be someone step up to a higher role for that to happen. I guess in a sense, i just got tired of waiting and decided to be the change that I want to see in ASB.

Bryant Carlton

Hometown: Corinth, MS
Desired Position: Judicial Chair

The first point in my platform is restorative justice, which means I believe that when you are involved in a student conduct case you should receive educational measures that help you get back in to our Ole Miss community an even better citizen that you already were. I don’t believe one mistake should ruin your college career, and as Judicial Chair I would make sure that every opportunity to issue educational measures to students who come in conduct with the judicial council is taken. My second point in my platform is that I am running as a student advocate. As Judicial Chair I would make sure that students who comes in contact with the student conduct office are given a chance to have their side of the story told. My final point of my platform is spreading awareness about the Judicial Council. So many students are unaware of the opportunity that the Judicial Council affords them, and I want to change this. As Judicial Chair I would speak to as many student organizations as would allow me, so that I can inform our community about what we do as a council.

Something that students do not know about me is that my dad is a lawyer, so since a young age the idea of justice has been instilled in me. I have been around the legal system for as long as I can remember, and growing up in this environment motivated me to apply for the Judicial Council. While the council is not a court, it is an area on campus where I have been involved in applying restorative justice and helped my peers learn from their mistakes.

I applied to be on the judicial council my freshman year, hoping that I could make a difference on campus and be apart of something that is bigger than myself. After my two years of serving on the council, I could not be happier with my decision to apply. I have heard many different types of cases, student organization violations, alcohol and drug violations, and sexual misconduct cases. I believe my experience in the different areas the judicial council is involved in makes me qualified to be the next Judicial Chair.

The students on campus that are unaware of what the Judicial Council does have been my main motivation. It is a board of your peers and faculty who come in with an open mind and want to help you learn from your mistake. Since I have been on the council I have worked with two great Judicial Chairs who lead the council extraordinarily. I wish to be elected so I can continue their legacy of applying restorative justice in every case that the council hears and make a legacy of my own by spreading awareness about the council.

William Jeffery Nowell

Hometown: Olive Branch, MS
Desired Position: Judicial Chair 

As Judicial Chair, my number one priority would be repealing the two-strike policy. The judicial council operates with a fundamental goal of promoting restorative rather than punitive justice. We try to help students work toward learning from their mistakes in a way that rehabilitates them and brings them back into the Ole Miss family. Unfortunately, the two-strike policy does the exact opposite of everything the judicial council is supposed to be about. Under the current policy, a student that gets caught with a single empty beer can in his/her dorm or car is treated the same way as a student who gets two DUIs. To me, that seems to be a poor demonstration of what justice is supposed to be.

I once encountered a very tall black bear on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail. My hiking partner had gotten ahead of me, so I had been alone on the trail for a long time. I heard a rustling in the bushes about 50 feet up a ridge and froze. After waiting to see if the rustling happened again, I decided to cross the ridge. Once I reached the top, I realized that an adult black bear had been making the noise, and it was now standing about 10 feet away from me on its hind legs.

I’ve served on the Judicial Council for two years, and my major in Philosophy has given me the ability to spend a lot of time contemplating the idea of justice, right and wrong, and other fundamental values. Those questions have had a profound impact on the way I treat cases in the Judicial Council, and the way that I’ve acted in coordinating events and in my treatment of those I’ve worked with as the Student Director of the Honors College.

I’ve always been captivated with questions about morality, ethics, and how they relate to modern life. I wholeheartedly believe in the Judicial Council’s goal of promoting restorative justice and am convinced that the only way to fulfill that promise to the students is by repealing the two-strike policy. As long as the unjust, punitive two strike policy is still in place, it will counteract the Judicial Council’s efforts to help students learn from their mistakes. I want to fix this blatant hypocrisy by working closely with the ASB senate to get rid of the two-strike policy.

Levi Bevis

Hometown: Florence, Alabama
Desired Position: Attorney General 

My platform can be boiled down to three words: Information, Representation, and Communication. I want to ensure that the student body is well-informed concerning events held by the Associated Student Body and the rules regarding our election process.  I hope to achieve this by creating the office of the Deputy Attorney General of Student Engagement, who will be appointed to oversee the spread of such information.  By doing this, I believe we can increase voter participation in our elections and encourage more student interaction with the ASB.  I also will have an open-door policy because I believe that every student’s concerns are worth hearing and I would like to work with students to find solutions to these issues.  By holding town halls and encouraging communication among students via social media, we can scrutinize our election processes and make improvements to ensure that every student has the opportunity to take part in our elections and has the knowledge necessary to make a well-informed vote.  I believe that we, as a united community, can strive to make changes that will promote inclusivity and efficiency in our election processes as well as in ASB as a whole.

One thing that most students probably don’t know about me is that I love kayaking. During the summer, my friends and I typically go kayaking quite often, and it is easily one of the most enjoyable parts of my summer.

I have extensive experience with both the legislative and executive branches. I served in the Senate as a legislative aide, senator, and chairman of the Government Operations Committee. I also served as the co-chairman of the Elections Review Taskforce. I have worked closely with the current Attorney General, Brent Ferguson, and the Elections Commission through attending election regulation violation hearings and working on legislation to improve our elections procedures. From this experience, I have gained valuable insight on how the Department of Justice can be improved from both the inside and outside to increase its effectiveness.

I decided to run for the position of Attorney General because I see a number of issues with our election processes. The University of Mississippi has one of the lowest student voter turnout rates among other SEC universities, and we need to engage more students with ASB through our elections. I also want to get more students from all areas of our campus to run for office. Historically, some members of our campus community have been tremendously underrepresented, and it is time that we ensure each person has more opportunities to share his or her voice with ASB.

Dillon Pitts

Hometown: Pearl, MS
Desired Position: Attorney General

My platform is based on three points. Student involvement via voter incentives, bringing the AG’s office into the 21st century by utilizing social media, and finally adding a student defense council to the AG’s staff to aid and advise students going through the judicial process.

I work for a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for adult education and works skills training. This job has shown me that even the slightest bit of service can go so far in helping our neighbors.

I’ve been lucky to serve almost three years in the AG’s office on the Election Commission and the Chairman of the Election Commission. In doing so, I’ve witnessed first hand the process of elections and violation hearings and am more than prepared to assume the position to take charge of the AG’s office.

I love the University of Mississippi. I love ASB. I believe ASB could have a huge impact on this campus to be an organization that helps all students and other organizations. My experience on the election commission has taught me that elections are fair. Every student has the ability to run for anything on campus as long as they meet the qualifications. Running for an elected office takes a huge leap of faith and I am overjoyed to be in my current position as a candidate for Attorney General.

Note: the position of Treasurer is unopposed. Jennie Jesuit is the only candidate.