Jesse Hooton is a fourth-year political science major running for President in this year’s AMS election. His platform focuses on campus security, career counselling and sport.
Hooton doesn’t have any leadership experience on campus, but has been involved in campus life as a varsity athlete, something which he says gives him a unique perspective into “anyone with a constraining schedule outside class hours.”
This perspective is what fuelled one of his main platform points — career counselling.
“Different faculties, different programs, they offer career counselling seminars ... [but] so many students just don’t have the opportunities to attend so many of them,” said Hooton. “I know I don’t.”
As a potential solution to this problem, he puts forward the idea of a website where faculty will offer input and knowledge that might otherwise be offered at seminars in a concise fashion.
However, Hooton does not have a plan set in stone for how this would work.
“There is time to iron out and to expand the vision but right now, it’s something accessible, something flexible for students,” said Hooton. “Right now the vison does seem to be to do something online, that would be the easiest way.”
Campus security is another major part of Hooton’s platform.
“I got three bikes stolen which is I think an issue that plagues this whole campus ... it really speaks to a larger issue of just how campus security hasn’t really been enough of a focus, and isn’t talked about enough,” said Hooton. “This also spans to sexual assault. It’s been a problem certainly as long as I’ve been here and for many more years.”
He has a few plans for how he might combat these issues of campus security.
Over-archingly, he considers the possibility of an extension of the AMS’s Safewalk service that might patrol main areas of campus. He also thinks security cameras on major routes may help. Hooton says he will advocate for the need for the cameras in the face of privacy policies and legislation that may prevent it.
To prevent bike theft specifically he advocates for locked gated areas for bikes that could be accessed for free with a student card. He also thinks bait-bike programs would aid the issue. In response to already decreasing rates of bike theft, he promised that “it's going to go down more if you elect me.”
According to Hooton, addressing the issue of sexual assault on campus is his loftiest goal, because it is more of a cultural problem. He plans to tackle it through PR campaigns, rallies and events.
“PR campaigns do a lot ... to advance and unstigmatize the sort of the problems that people have [when] discussing the issue,” said Hooton.
Sports culture on campus is important to Hooton, a varsity athlete. A specific challenge he sees if elected President is the growing discontent with fees included in student tuition to cover athletics and recreation.
“No university that hopes to be premier in the country, hopes to thrive, can go without a strong sports department, it contributes so much to the culture on campus,” he said.
Hooton wants to increase support for sport on campus, but does not note a specific plan.
Given his lack of experience Hooton believes that, as President, he would bring an outsider perspective to the AMS, and says his ability to handle pressure, remain consistent and not be intimidated will help him.
“You just have to have confidence that you do have the skills and ... know, you have just as every right to be in this position as anyone else,” said Hooton.