Opinion | Why my involvement makes me more qualified for vice president

Guest column by Arianna Ngnomire, vice presidential candidate for student government and president of Black Student Union

vice president

Arianna Ngnomire, vice presidential candidate for student government and president of Black Student Union

During the presidential debate March 8, there was an emphasis on my lack of involvement in Student Government Association (SGA). When asked what made him more qualified, my opponent Alex Ballard listed off his accomplishments and titles held in SGA. He mentioned how he was a leader on campus, alluding to the perception that I am not.

I won’t even begin to argue who has more knowledge about SGA, as Jackie Palacios, Ballard and Mitchell Rosenberg have each served for a substantial amount of time. I will, however, argue that I am more involved in Chapman University than my opponents.

I am the lead program assistant of the Cross-Cultural Center, president of the Black Student Union (BSU) and I work as an office assistant in Residence Life. Before that, I was the public relations assistant to the University Program Board. My almost three years at this university has been dedicated to learning about the big picture, and how different organizations on campus work together to provide resources to students.

During my first semester at Chapman, I decided that I wanted to be involved right away. I was given the opportunity to be co-president of the Queer Trans People of Color Collective (QTPOCC). Even as a freshman I didn’t subject myself to sticking to what I already knew. I challenged myself to grow.

I’ve proudly been on the BSU executive board since my sophomore year. Through this organization, I’ve accomplished a lot of great work on campus, including Hops 4 Houston, a volleyball and basketball tournament that funded more than 3,000 meals for the Houston Food Bank after the tragic Hurricane Harvey. Our next goal is to bring a historically black sorority that is part of the “Divine Nine” (the nine historically black sororities and fraternities) to Chapman with help from Greek Life Coordinator Jaclyn Dreschler.

Student organizations are an integral part of this university. The assumption that a leader for the people is unable to do the same job as a leader of SGA underestimates all of the students at Chapman. I have always been a strong force on this campus, and will continue to be a force, whether or not I am vice president of SGA.

I speak out about important issues, not when it benefits my campaign, but when tragedies need to be addressed the moment it occurs. Last year, at the beginning of Black History Month, a student covered the Black Lives Matter flag with an “All Lives Matter” sheet. I waited at the steps of the Leatherby Libraries with a sign that read, “But will you say it to my face?” To my joy (and admitted surprise), then-sophomore political science Alec Harrington came forward as the perpetrator.

At that moment, I had two clear decisions: publicly get angry with him, or take the time to have an open and honest discussion. For me, it wasn’t about convincing Harrington. I’m not sure if I ever will convince him why the Black Lives Matter movement matters. But it was about students who feel like their opinion will not be respected or heard on this campus. I mean what I say that I am determined to represent every Chapman student, because I will listen to every Chapman student.

I hope to have SGA stand behind me next year in order to bring about the following change at Chapman:

  1. Provide free testing for sexually transmitted infections and diseases once a semester to all students.
  2. Encourage multicultural Greek organizations to charter at the university to foster and aid in recruiting diverse students.
  3. Emphasize the need for security precautions at Chapman. Security cameras should be installed in the Lastinger Parking Structure.
  4. Enhance the transparency and accessibility of SGA information by creating two- to five-minute videos that explain the funding process and summarize senate meetings.
  5. Purchase new equipment for Memorial Hall so student-run performances and events do not have to rent expensive equipment each time.

If any of these issues interest you, I would appreciate your vote on March 12 at www.chapmanvotes.com. If you have any additional questions that were unanswered from the debate or this column, please feel free to message me on Facebook or Instagram.

To read a column from Ngnomire’s opponent, Alex Ballard, click here.


  • Hi Ariana,
    Just to start off, I want to commend you for the campaign you and Jackie have ran, and I’m glad that you are participating and interacting on campus. While I do appreciate your op-ed and campaign, I do have a problem with many of the statements made throughout this campaign season. First and foremost, I would like to say that your comment on gun control in the Presidential debate was absolutely appalling, and to accuse someone of using a national tragedy as a campaign tactic is widely offensive and derogatory. I was truly taken aback by that comment, and just know that words hold great meaning, and those spoken were very spiteful. Second of all, a keystone of your campaign with Jackie has been centered around diversity on the Chapman campus and in Student Government. While diversity is an important part of a college campus and should be fostered in any way possible, SGA is focused on every aspect of the college experience from academics to diversity. This especially concerned me when I saw not ONE initiative pertaining to academic affairs on campus. Diversity must be fostered (and I would like to add that after taking a closer look at Senate, it seems to be very very diverse not only racially but in sexuality and religion), yet it seems upsetting to see that other aspects of your campaign have been compromised by focusing on one facet of a multi-faceted organization. Third of all, I have a very difficult time with the lack of knowledge that there is about Student Governmental affairs. As a student that has minimal knowledge about SGA, it took me a very short search on their website to find that the Director of Elections indeed does have a committee, and that every single member has a place on the SGA website. While I do not think that previous SGA experience is needed to be successful in Senate, to hold the position of Vice President comes with immense responsibility, and I do not think that someone without experience can be capable of handling the rigorous responsibility in entails. Again Ariana, I want to applaud you for your impact on campus and I hope you continue to foster creativity and change in our environment, but I hope it comes with better informed reasoning and knowledge in the future.

    • Hello! Thank you for these points. Words are extremely powerful you’re absolutely right. In regards to the gun control email that Mitchell Rosenberg sent about the active shooter meetings I still see it as dishonest for a few reasons. First, gun violence has been going on since I stepped on this campus and has been well before I thought about university. I learned at the active shooter meeting that these meetings go on on a regular basis. I wish I had known about them before. Because of the timing of the email (being sent on the first day of campaigning) I was skeptical about Rosenberg’s motives, which we were luckily able to discuss over the debate. Secondly, after I made the comment about the elections committee I realized my mistake. It was awkward, I was awkward and let my mistake stand instead of restating what I meant. Essentially I would like to see a bigger turnout with elections, and to instill in the committee the desire, motivation, and drive to find alternative ways to entice Chapman students to vote.

      Thank you for commenting, your critiques have been taken to heart and I also hope to continue to learn at Chapman and well after I graduate. Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram with anymore comments, questions, or concerns!

  • With all due respect, I feel your comments toward Ballard are uncalled for. While I will not deny your accomplishments, over 70% of students do not fall into categories of people you’ve worked with (Queer, BSU, etc) and are thus unsure how you will represent their interests. Perhaps you should consider advocating for the voices of all students.

  • Arianna, you could respond with your own name instead of condescending covers. This will be reflected in the polls!

      • WOW! You let me post the above comment that criticized a conservative student but censored me when I tried to post a comment criticizing Arianna Ngnomire. The Panther is systematically censoring conservative students. That was a test and you failed.

    • Hi! I think I responded in an above post. I always include my name as I want people to reach out to me personally if they need to!

  • Arianna, with all due respect your vocal history of derogatory comments toward white students will hurt you in the polls. Best of luck in continuing your leadership of BSU though.

      • Hello Arianna! I have heard from several people in BSU and others that you have made condescending remarks on several occasions. Stating the remarks here will not improve your poll chances.

        • Dear Tried by 12 Than Carried by 6,

          For all we know, you could be the one replying to yourself. Please stop accusing Arianna of something you literally have negative proof of. And no, before you’d like to comment, “Arianna, I know this is you…,” please don’t. I’m not her. And don’t say you weren’t going to say that. Everyone knows you were.

          -An annoyed student who lost brain cells reading your comments

          • In that video I see her literally defending you from some guy who wants to put you in a garbage can. Yes, perhaps her words weren’t respectful- but in the greater context of the situation she’s actually just defusing what could have become a violent altercation.

            Context is important, and I don’t really see how this one instance constitutes a ‘vocal history of derogatory comments’.

  • Any reason why The Panther has disabled comments on new posts? Just wanted to express my concern for future campus division with our elected VP.

    • We have not disabled comments – we have replaced it with a new Facebook comments system. If you want to express your concern, just simply comment through your Facebook account at the bottom of any article.

      Jamie Altman

        • We received many complaints from students who felt harassed and targeted in our comment section from people who hid behind fake identities. We listened to those concerns, agreed with them, and implemented a new system. If you would like to comment on recent articles, simply log in to your Facebook.

          Jamie Altman

          • Not everyone has a facebook, Jamie. Considering that The Panther Online is a WordPress site, moderators could simply disapprove of any comments from a non-Chapman email. Perhaps a hybrid commenting system is in order? It’s easy to ban certain IP and email addresses.

  • I think a change like this, (that will affect the student body the most) should be left up to the students to decide.

    • Parking tickets affect drivers the most- but we don’t get to decide whether or not cops are allowed to give them.

      The Panther should be free to enforce whatever policies they feel will most likely improve their readers’ experience. If you are worried about people knowing who you are for what you say in the comments, maybe you should reconsider what you are commenting.

Leave a Comment