Anthony “TJ” Graise is currently a senator running for president of SGA. Graise joined SGA this year and credits his experience with it as his main reason for running for president.
“Joining SGA this year came with its own set of challenges just because of the pandemic and truth be told, I’m not a fan of how the meetings are run,” Graise said. “Now that I’ve seen how it works…I know that it’s a tough job, and I know it’s not an easy job… but I do think that I’m the right person for the job.”
According to Graise, one of his biggest goals if elected is to get more people involved with SGA and to hopefully convince more people to join.
“I think we could easily include a lot more people in the decision making and the initial discussion if we simply look outside of our friend groups for attracting people into SGA. Right now, we are in a situation where we aren’t as collaborative as we could be, and the legislature isn’t as productive because of that.”
Graise does not believe that SGA should be involved in the deliberations regarding the 17 letters of non-renewal that the school sent to faculty members. SGA previously passed a resolution to send a letter to the administration stating that they oppose the non-renewals.
“I think that that’s an arbitration agreement that’s done between the teachers and the teachers union and the administration and we should stick out of that,” Graise said. “That’s a pretty lofty goal that the administration set out, and we can’t accomplish. That’s not for us.”
Graise does not support the recent tuition rise and voted against it. He points to the letters of non-renewal as evidence that the tuition increase is unjustified.
“When we get a four percent tuition raise and it’s comparable to other schools around the country, we should be asking for one percent of that or two percent of that back, because we’re the ones taking the hit and losing faculty,” he said.
Graise believes that SGA should work with the university’s administration and cited his experience as a political science major as evidence that he would be able to. He also believes that the current way that SGA is operating is not properly working with the university.
“It should definitely be a hybrid situation,” Graise said. “I do believe in the separation of power as a political science major. I think that the legislature, where it stands right now… we should be re-writing our constitution, and it shouldn’t be taking up all of our meetings. The executive branch should be coming to us with their plan of attack on how they’re going to fix the real problems on campus. We’re supposed to hear them out, but right now that’s not really what’s happening.”
Graise believes he is the best candidate for the job because he views himself as an advocate for everyone, not just a particular group of students.
“What I feel that this particular election is about is who is the best advocate for different walks of life, not just particular groups, but different walks.”