Christy Lambden is a Philosophy and Political Science double major, and he’s running for Student Body President. CRDaily sat down with Christy to learn more about him, his campaign, and what he loves about UNC.
(This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.)
- Why you are running for Student Body President?
I’m running for Student Body President because I believe in the power of student representation, and the power that we as a collective body at Carolina as students can have to affect the future at Carolina in the things that matter. We need to make sure that we preserve the values of Carolina that we hold dear and come through the various scandals that we’ve been through in the last few years stronger than we went into them. I think that we need somebody who is going to stand up and be an advocate for students and will really represent student needs
2. What are the three things you want done while in office?
I think that any SBP will have to find a way to tackle tuition and affordability. In the past, SBPs haven’t had a lot of success with minimizing tuition increases, and I think that it is something that we need to look into; to try to fight to minimize tuition increases. But I think that there are other areas of campus that an SBP might be able to have more of an effect on, costs and fees, book, housing and food are all areas that are expensive to students and areas where the SBP can try to tackle and bring down those costs. We need to reshape the debate so that we’re not just focusing on tuition, but on the whole package of coming to Carolina.
The second issue is academics, we have to make sure that we increase professor retention, which dropped to 42% last year, increase the number of class sections offered, and decrease class size. That is another priority, shaping any potentially increased tuition revenue about where it is used on campus.
My final priority I would like to tackle is safety, to me it is unacceptable that students feel unsafe during their time at Carolina, and it’s unacceptable that that feeling of un-safety is through administrative errors and the various policies that the university holds. I’d like to see reforms in the sexual assault policy and in Alert Carolina. The current sexual assault policy leaves survivors feeling vulnerable and uninformed about the system. It was a system drafted by administrators without any input from students, faculty or staff, and that to me is unacceptable. Alert Carolina is currently based on an administrator’s definition of what a threat is, rather than a student’s version of what a threat is, which are clearly two different definitions. When there is a gunman on or around campus, if we are not informed about that, then we are not going to be informed about a lot of things, and that is unacceptable. We need to have full knowledge of what is going on on-campus.
3. What do you think are your strengths? Your weaknesses?
One of my strengths is I am willing and ready to fight for students. I do work well with administrations and have traditionally worked well in team situations, as well as leading a team. If I had to pinpoint a weakness, it would be that I am, on occasion, too emotional, and that can lead to various situations arising but we have not had any problems with that thus far this year.
4. The new Chancellor search is starting, and as a new SBP if elected, you would have a lot more influence over the search. What do you want to see in a new Chancellor?
I think the first thing to say is that this is a phenomenal opportunity for any SBP to have the opportunity to work with a Chancellor not just on a vision for a year, but feasibly on a vision for the next ten years. So this is an incredibly exciting for an incoming SBP. What I want to see in a Chancellor is that he is an open book for students; that he protects the values that we at Carolina hold dear: affordability and accessibility. And those are the big two values that I would like to see in the new chancellor, as well as protecting student needs.
5. What do you bring to the office that the other candidates do not?
I bring a background in the money side of the university, through sitting on the SFAC (Student Fee Audit Committee) Committee, and that is an area that we’ve pinpointed that I have a little bit of expertise than the other candidates. I have sat on SFAC this year, I have reviewed fee increases and I have helped audit a number of fees as well. This is a good insight into how the fee system works, and how the whole money side of this university works, including fees, including housing, books and organizations.
6. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents?
I think that the strength of all of my opponents is that they are very passionate about this university. I don’t think anybody can question the passion that any of them bring to this position or this race. If I were to express a weakness about my opponents, it would be that some of them do not have a diverse enough platform, they pinpointed one or two issues but they don’t seem ot address a number of wider problems across the University.
7. Carolina has magically turned in to Hogwarts. Which Hogwarts house would you be sorted into? Why?
I really like the question. You know, everybody wants to be sorted into Gryffindor, and I would certainly like to be sorted into Gryffindor but I would probably be sorted into Hufflepuff. But I want to say Gryffindor. I think that something that bring is a lot of passion, and I want to preserve the values that I like about it, and I think those values are held by Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.
8. It’s the day after you lose the election, how do you plan on continuing to serve Carolina?
I think I would continue to be an advocate for students. I’m not doing this because I want to get personal gain out of the position, I’m doing this because I want to be an advocate for students, and stand up for students and what they need. I think that that can continue whether I’m elected to the office of SBP or whether I’m not elected to the office of SBP. The first thing that I will do is reach out to the newly elected SBP and offer them my support, and by the end of this election period they would know where I’m strongest and weakest, and would know how to best use me. I certainly want to maintain my role in student government, and help protect the values at Carolina.
9. The Carolina Review (and CRDaily) is a conservative publication, and we want to make sure that our next Student Body President has a good understanding of conservatism. So, please rank in order of awesomeness: Reagan, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Coolidge.
Okay, here we go. I would definitely put Lincoln in #1. I think that in terms of reputation, and because I’m a big fan of Maggie Thatcher, I would put Reagan #2. I think I would go with Coolidge at #3, Eisenhower at #4, and Nixon last.
10. What’s your favorite story about your time at UNC?
I think what I’ve really taken away from my time at UNC is a great passion for the University. I think that’s embodied by the fact that I love country music, which I don’t think I did when I came in, certainly not to the extent that I do now. “Wagon Wheel” is now my favorite song. There was a moment last week when I was at my fraternity house and I got a hold of the speakers, and I decided to play Wagon Wheel. I think it says a lot about the University that all 50 guys in the room knew all of the lyrics to “Wagon Wheel” and we all sang it in harmony, we joined hands…well we didn’t join hands, but we all came together for the experience. And I think that kind of story that shows just how special Carolina is.
11. What’s your favorite joke?
One of my favorite jokes is very British… For the soccer fans. There were people walking through the desert. A Welshman, Irishman and a Scotsman and they come across a dead camel. They’re starving, because they haven’t had anything to eat or drink for days. They all wanted to eat the camel, so they decided to divide it up by which soccer team they support. The Welshman said “I support Liverpool so I’ll have the Liver”. Then the Scotsman said “I support hearts so I’ll have the heart”. The third guy is looking a little down in the dumps, so the other two ask him what’s wrong, and he says, “Well, I support arsenal.”