The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Meet the 2024 VSG presidential and vice presidential candidates

Three tickets are currently on the ballot for student body president and vice president: sophomores Lin Morales and Dee Norman, juniors Hananeel Morinville and Ellie Kearns and first-years Sevaan Prestipino and Rachel Warner.
Tasfia Alam
Screenshots of photos of Ellie Kearns, Hananeel Morinville, Rachel Warner, Sevaan Prestipino, Dee Norman and Lin Morales from the VSG Nonpartisan Candidate Database, as captured on March 23, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Tasfia Alam)

Three pairs of students are running for VSG student body president and vice president for the 2024-25 school year. This year’s campaigns include the second all-female platform and the first transgender platform in VSG history. The election was indefinitely suspended after a March 23 order issued by the VSG Judicial Court due to controversy surrounding one ticket’s illegitimacy, but a March 24 order ruled that voting will occur on March 26 and 27 after a one-day campaign period on March 25.   

As of publication, tickets for president and vice president, respectively, include sophomores Lin Morales and Dee Norman, juniors Hananeel Morinville and Ellie Kearns and first-years Sevaan Prestipino and Rachel Warner. 

Morales, Norman platform

The Morales-Norman platform is focused on five core principles: making Vanderbilt a home, safety and access, accountability, interconnectedness and awareness. 

Morales was a member of VSG’s public safety and transportation committee, and Norman is a current MLC senator for the Vanderbilt Lambda Association. Morales is the first transgender student to campaign for student body president in VSG history. 

Morales and Norman said they wanted to represent the student body after encountering disparities in Vanderbilt’s resources for queer students and students with disabilities. They officially decided to run after the Nov. 29 speaker event that featured conservative political commentator Michael Knowles.

“[Knowles] made us [queer people] feel unsafe and unwelcome and unaccepted,” Morales said. “It was a very rough time for trans students and for people of color in general, so our motivation definitely was to ease that tension.” 

Both Morales and Norman are student workers on campus, and they plan to use their knowledge of internal campus affairs to increase access to resources they believe many students are unaware of. One such example is the Student Care Assistance Program, which offers $2,000 every year to students receiving financial aid for use toward healthcare expenses. 

“Even if we aren’t necessarily creating resources — but we do have plans to do so, sharing the resources that already exist and that have been developed over time by previous amazing VSG governments is going to be so essential for a student body that is disconnected from these initiatives,” Norman said. 

If elected, Morales and Norman plan to make all class syllabi accessible on YES, increase lighting on campus and promote transparency of faculty and VSG activities. They said they hope to start recording VSG Senate sessions to keep the student body informed of Senate initiatives and their potential impact on the student body.

“[The administration] is often talking about policies that affect a lot of student lives, including principled neutrality and their approaches to major conflicts and, frankly, these shouldn’t be hidden behind a random page on the Vanderbilt website,” Norman said. “If we make VSG more transparent, we hope it will encourage the administration to do the same.”

Morinville, Kearns platform 

Using the slogan “Change That’s Possible,” the Morinville-Kearns platform emphasizes sexual and relationship violence prevention; diversity, equity and inclusion; academic transparency; internal VSG reform; and making campus resources more accessible. 

Morinville is the current chair of VSG’s economic inclusivity committee, and Kearns is the current chair of the sexual assault awareness and prevention committee. They represent the second all-female campaign for president and vice president in VSG history, following Hannah Bruns (B.A. ‘22) and Kayla Prowell (B.A. ‘23) in 2021

Morinville said she and Kearns decided to run because of their experiences in VSG. According to Morinville, students often say VSG does not “really do anything,” and she wants to change that narrative.

“We know what it takes to get work done, and we know what work needs to get done,” Morinville said. “It takes the right people to be leading and to offer a different image of transparency in whatever that looks like.” 

If elected, Morinville and Kearns hope to accomplish several equity-focused initiatives, including making class syllabi available on YES, reforming the honor council system to include conversations with professors before students are reported and creating direct channels between the student body and VSG executive staff members. One example of a new initiative they want to implement is a Peabody transportation fund to support Peabody students’ travel to their internships and student teaching opportunities. 

Morinville and Kearns cited their three years of experience within VSG as what distinguishes them from other candidates on the ballot. Morinville was involved in passing bills related to expansion of dining hours to accommodate fasting students and providing regalia funds for students receiving financial aid, while Kearns started the angel drink initiative on campus.

“VSG should be a tool for getting things done and improving the lives of students on this campus,” Morinville said. “We have years of experience that the other candidates simply don’t have, and that is going to be a really big advantage to us for getting things done in VSG if we are elected.” 

Prestipino, Warner platform

Prestipino and Warner have campaigned with a blend of satirical and genuine proposals for improving campus, centering on their belief of a need to restore civility and respect to VSG as an organization. 

“We want to cleanse VSG from politics and corruption, and just get good s— done for the students,” Prestipino said. “No pretending to be superior to students or throwing around vague, magical buzzwords — just put our heads down and get some serious change done for campus.”

Prestipino and Warner’s platform advocates for substantial changes to campus dining policies, including eliminating the daily swipe limit at Munchie Marts, replacing bamboo utensils with metal or plastic ones and implementing a system to exchange meal swipes for Meal Money. They are also pushing for ending Duo Mobile two-factor authentication and improving on-campus lighting at night.

“Everybody says it can not be done until somebody does it, and we’re going to be that somebody,” Prestipino said regarding the feasibility of these proposals.

Prestipino and Warner have satirically proposed a number of large-scale construction projects, such as a hot tub on top of Zeppos College’s West End Tower, a canal through Commons Lawn and a nuclear power plant on Belmont University’s campus. They have also borrowed elements of Sliman-Grubbs’ platform from last year, including policies to prevent or punish electric scooter usage on campus.

Prestipino and Warner were absent from both the MLC’s and The Hustler’s debates leading up to the election. Prestipino told The Hustler he thought the debate would generate antagonism rather than help students choose who to vote for.

“We have a serious opportunity to uplift student lives, yet [we] allow strife to bog us down,” Prestipino said in an email to The Hustler. “I am a strong advocate for the necessity of civil discourse in creating a unified campus…but I have come to see that this debate fosters more disunity and hostility.”

In place of traditional campaign events, Prestipino has campaigned through public demonstrations. On March 20, Prestipino entered dining halls with a banner reading “F— Bamboo” to express dissatisfaction with the university’s recent move to sustainable bamboo utensils in several dining halls.

Prestipino dismissed concerns about campaigning for VSG’s highest offices as a first-year.

“I would ask students to at least think about the impact that could be made by someone who became a contender with no outside support team or foundation and solely their own desire to take VSG in a new direction,” Prestipino said. 

Warner, who is not a current member of VSG, has been largely absent from campaign materials. Warner did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment. Prestipino said she took a backseat role to divert criticism of their campaign towards him.

“Going into the election, I knew that I would receive an upsetting amount of hate, so my goal was to target it all towards me to keep [Warner] from receiving any of it,” Prestipino said. “She is just a hard-working, trustworthy teammate who I won’t let get life-altering criticism for my actions.”

Sofia El-Shammaa and Gabe Loewenson contributed reporting to this piece.

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About the Contributors
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
Arman Amin
Arman Amin, Staff Writer
Arman Amin (‘27) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in political science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him listening to music, going for a run or spending time with friends. You can reach him at [email protected].
Parker Smith
Parker Smith, Former Deputy News Editor
Parker Smith ('24) is majoring in computer science and political science in the School of Engineering. He enjoys playing guitar in his spare time and is a former Starbucks barista and self-proclaimed coffee expert. He can be reached at [email protected].
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