Student Government Association Debates

The three SGA Presidential Candidates taking audience questions on April 6, 2022. Photo courtesy of PRN broadcast.

On Tuesday night, 2022-23 Student Government hopefuls gathered on stage to debate topics ranging from accessibility of the Student Government Association (SGA) to campus safety and inclusion of international, commuter and Perimeter-campus students.

The debate included three Speaker of the Senate candidates, one uncontested Executive Vice President and three President hopefuls of varying experience moderated by Panther Report News Director Melissa Perez and The Signal Editor-in-Chief Deena Kayyali.

Speaker of the Senate:

Jordan Madden is a 17-year-old freshman speaker candidate. His campaign slogan is ‘Together we can Make a Difference.” 

Madden said he wanted to revitalize Panther Involvement Network (PIN) to make finding organizations more user-friendly. He plans to create opportunities through SGA social media to let students know about SGA and the events.

He would also like to get Atlanta Police Department (APD) and Georgia State Police Department (GSP) in a forum with the students so they can hear the concerns that students  do not feel protected when they’re around.

“We don’t feel like they have our best interests at heart,” he said, “and so I believe that it’s a crucial key to [prosper] those relationships for students.”

Qayla Shipp is a freshman criminal justice major. She wants to bridge the gap between the senators and fellow student government.

She said many commuter students might struggle to make events that happen on the same day every week. She wants to implement a mandate that moves events to a different day of the week each time to give all students a chance to be involved.

She also plans to create a student questionnaire and a more significant social media presence for SGA.

“Most of us are on Snapchat, Instagram,” she said. “I think SGA should take the time to revamp their social media because [that’s] how we’re reaching our fellow millennials and Gen-Z people.”

Tanjanae Walker is a senior and says she is set apart from her other candidates by her extensive experience. She said as Speaker that she plans to be present at events to bridge the gap between the SGA and the students. 

She will also have a specific GroupMe where students could issue their questions to her directly and immediately. She said she aims to be an ear and voice for the students to allow them to communicate their thoughts on safety, resources and access.

“I will have access to the larger university community,” she said. “I will be able to transmute the information and effect change as I already have on campus.”

Executive Vice President: 

Freshman Devi Patel is the uncontested candidate for Executive Vice President.

She promotes trash pickup, increasing the number of recycling bins and working with Georgia State’s environmental science department to incorporate compost from the dining hall’s organic food waste.

She proposed establishing communication with GSP to make them aware of the safety concerns of the female students. She also wants to provide students with the tools to protect themselves by providing a helpline for students to call to get a ride to their dorm or car and panic whistles.

Patel wants to strengthen the inclusivity of commuter and international students through club fairs. She also wants to collaborate with students on their needs through social media and student questionnaires.


Anthonio Prince is an international student majoring in biology and currently  holds a position on SGA.

He wants to focus on getting general feedback from the students instead of pushing out a preconceived agenda.

“I will put a tablet in each library on campus to [ask] for feedback,” he said. “I want to rebrand the SGA website, so it’s easier to put ideas and thoughts. Also, I will go to the students to increase accessibility and, of course, active listening.”

He said he would create events to bridge the gap between athlete and non-athlete students and bring more awareness to Greek organizations.

Prince’s top concern is expanding mental health resources by increasing counselors and working with companies willing to offer extended trials to students.

Kirsten McManus is a freshman with no previous student government experience. 

She believes that her experience as a leader on projects and with her organizations in high school have solidified her leadership qualities well enough for her to learn the duties of SGA president quickly.

“A student in college is not going to have all the experience immediately,” she said. “A leader does not need a list of experience to be somebody who can lead a group, guide people and lead them toward greatness.”

She hopes to extend the hours of the restaurants on campus and work with campus police to increase security by adding patrol officers and stations placed around campus to alert the police if someone is in immediate danger.

She plans to increase student involvement and promote accessibility of the SGA and inclusion of perimeter, international and commuter students by creating more events.

Ira Livnat is a 4th-year undergraduate, first year at Georgia State College of Law and current House Speaker. He has been active in the student government for most of his time at Georgia State and has a list of past and current projects he’s involved in.

As president, he said he would still have much to do.

“We have to get the Fair Fund Act passed, Standards and Reviews sent out, get the blue lights (security cameras) installed and ensure the student organizations on the fourth floor do not get evicted and not get charged $4,000 per year. We need stamina, endurance and someone who can adjust and work on something they didn’t know they had to work on.”

He said the most pressing issue is engagement, but the student government is not a catch-all. He said the United Students Organization could increase the funding so the organizations can have the resources to market for themselves.

“Nobody knows how to market the organizations better than the organization,” he said, “so we need to give them the ability to do that, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Voting is open on April 11-14 and is available on PIN.