SGA Presidential Candidates: A Deep Dive commentary

Politics and Activism, School Events

By: Ronan O’Comartun

There are three candidates in the running for Student Government Association (SGA) president: junior musician Jamir Lawson,  junior visual artist Chloe McNeill, and junior visual artist Day’Shaun Barrett. 

With a deep dive into the psyche of each candidate, proactive members of the Baltimore School for the Arts student body can make up their minds on which presidential candidate to vote for. 

Jamir Lawson

Among the rush of hungry BSA students filing into Cafe Fili at the end of the school day was candidate Jamir Lawson. Lawson sat down prepared to defend his candidacy and explain his validity as a possible president.

“I think our biggest issue facing our school right now is lack of communication,” Lawson explained. “Across the board there is an extreme disconnection between not only arts and academics, and if I am elected president, I plan to bridge those lines of communication.” 

Lawson elaborated that he intended to fix this “by being more involved.”

According to BSA’s SGA interest meeting, one of the SGA’s goals for the next school year is to be more involved, something that couldn’t happen last year due to scheduling. 

To combat this, the elections are taking place in May of the prior year, an initiative pushed by Jamir Lawson in his SGA position this year.

“I think, in the way that our school is ran, This is a big reason why I push for spring elections because a lot of our issues in our school and a lot of things that get resolved and a lot of planning that happens happens we were told in the summer and the days leading up to when school started.” Lawson says, “So if there’s a student leader in those meetings such as calendar meetings, when concerts are planned, this will bridge the gap between students not knowing things beforehand and administrators knowing them.”

Chloe McNeill

In the hallway of the 6th floor at BSA, Chloe McNeill was interviewed while on break in her painting class.

This is not the first time McNeill has taken interest in Student Government. Since the existence of BSA’s SGA, McNeill has been Visual Arts Department Representative. 

Why should people vote for McNeill? “I feel like people should vote for me because I’m a trustworthy candidate,” McNeill explained.

But how trustworthy? Is McNeill only running to pad her already very hefty college resume? Or is her political pursuit a genuine concern for the student body? 

McNeill clarified, “I was more thinking about college when I ran for a second time for visual arts because I felt like that would show my dedication but this time, it was more for the school because I had more control over what goes on.”

A common theme the voter will pick up on is that for the majority of the candidates, communication is very important and one of the main running promises. 

McNeill went on to add “One thing I want to do as president is further communication with BSA because right now the communication… it sucks.”

“And so there’s a bunch of different schedules that go on,” McNeill elaborated. “Like people are having department shows, we have showcases, we have presentations, and then they’re all bunched up. People aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, the work isn’t shown the right way, and then everything goes askew. So I want people to be able to recognize the work that we have.” 

When asked what can realistically get done while in office, McNeill says, “people were like I want to get vending machines I want to get sports, realistically we’re not going to get that this year like with sports you need more teachers and we’re already here from 8 to 4 and with vending machines that’s a whole city thing that the school itself can’t do.”

“I feel like we have to keep it realistic with like issues between students issues within the school scheduling stuff” McNeill says. 

When asked about her opponents McNeill quietly replied:

“Not that I don’t trust Day’Shaun, but because I feel like he wouldn’t take it as seriously. I trust Jamir with it. We were both going to ask each other to be the other’s vice president. That’s why we’ve been cool throughout the whole campaign. And I feel like he’s very passionate about it, with all the work he did for the Black history Showcase, I feel like I can trust him with it if I were to lose.

McNeill and Lawson were considering running together but ultimately decided to campaign separately for the position of president. 

McNeill explands, “Jamir doesn’t know a lot of the people, I feel like it’ll take long for him to gain their trust. And then, like, people who say they were voting for me, I feel like they won’t go to him if they have a problem. They’d probably go to me.” 

Despite all this big talk McNeill is confident in her ability to stay sane in complete solitary confinement. 

“Yeah. I’d give me a couple weeks.” McNeill said solemnly.

Day’Shaun Barrett

Our final contender in the presidential arena is Day’Shaun Barrett, who possesses a refreshingly unfiltered approach. When questioned about why he is drawn to a leadership position, he responded with a brazen declaration: “The power.”

While this may instill fear into the hearts and minds of the few students who care about their student president representative, fear not, as when Barrett was asked if BSA were to take on a capitalist, socialist, communist, or fascist regime, he did not choose fascism. 

“I know what capitalism is, I don’t know what the other two are.” He stated bluntly, “socialism is good. I’ve heard it’s pretty good. I don’t— I think it’s like just being nice to people, just being cool with people. I think that’s a good thing. Being social? Yeah, being social and just working with people and making sure that they have the best of each other.”

Despite saying “The power”  as one of his main motivators Barrett also believes, “I feel like most of it is just mostly for everybody else. I’m a team player, I get stuff done when I feel like it. When I feel like it most of the time, because I’m just like, I’m free.”

This is Barrett’s first time participating in SGA, when asked how he knew what he was doing he responded with, “No clue. No clue. I was going to talk to Quinn about like how she did it because I think that’s integral to like talk to the former president about this.” 

Barrett’s main policies revolve around the visual arts department and making zoom meetings mandatory for coach class. In Barrett’s words: “Make, like, Zoom mandatory, like if you’re going to have coach class, have that be mandatory for students that want to come.”

Along with this, Barrett wants to garner more coverage of gallery openings. “Most of our stuff is just put on the back burner. And I just want people to be like: ‘oh there’s nice art here.’ Like, they got visual artists at school” he adds. 

Readers may be scratching their noggins wondering why Day’Shaun Barrett did not choose to run for Visual Arts Representative, Barrett says, “ I probably should have ran for visual artist representative, but I feel like I want the power, I love the power… I think there’s some things that could change…” 

Barrett kept his views on his opponents brief, “I don’t know who Jamir is. I’m different from Chloe because I’m just iconic. I’m saying that she’s not iconic, but I’m iconic.”


Are you unwittingly succumbing to a grand conspiracy that gives the illusion of control within the chaotic corridors of our school? Or are you seeking someone with the strength and determination to truly make a difference? 

Student Government at BSA is still in its infancy, and there is a glimmer of hope that one day it will evolve into something impactful. But for now, your vote determines who will sit in those meetings, fighting to be heard amidst the constant dismissals.

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