Speaker of the House: Ethan Wearner

Speaker of the House: Ethan Wearner

Ethan Wearner is a sophomore with concentrations in History and Political Science and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Student Government Judiciary Committee. In that capacity, he has introduced sweeping constitutional amendments, worked to address community engagement deficits, advocate for a ‘Civic Day of Service’ on election days, establish a Democracy Week, and address long standing issues with organizational record keeping and operations. During the 2020-2021 Session, Ethan was proud to have been the author of more than half of all legislation introduced in the Senate. He is particularly proud of his advocacy for expanded telehealth programs and the easing of interstate licensure requirements during the pandemic, his resolution to co-sponsor and assist in promoting the ISP David Petraeus event, and in his co-sponsorship resolution that secured $400 in funding for the Pre-Dental Student Association’s Dental Drive Program. 

Ethan is running to continue and expand upon his existing work within Student Government. His platform is defined by a mission to Put the Student Back in Student Government.

The first pillar of his platform is centered around reforms to the Honor & Ethics Council and university Judicial system. Since 2015, the number of Honor Code violations on campus has gone up exponentially. Ethan believes that we are in need of a renewed culture of honor and ethics on campus. As Speaker, he will continue his existing progress as Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee to establish a Conduct Coalition with key campus partners focused on identifying trends and mitigation strategies; work to standardize syllabi language on the applicability and significance of the Honor Code; better incorporate FYE and FYS classes into larger conversations on our Honor Code; advocate for compensation and better training for HEC and BIA members; and focus on including remedial methods into the HEC’s standard sanctions process. As Speaker, Ethan will work to reinvigorate a culture of peer accountability and student governance into our judicial processes.

The second pillar of Ethan’s platform is focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. While Student Government events and initiatives are promoted across campus, Ethan notes that students are largely disinterested in attending Senate meetings and engaging with Student Government on a regular basis. To Put the Student Back in Student Government, Ethan will work to diversify and expand organizational membership; include more voices in Cabinet through area specific Community Liaisons (of which, he would appoint a ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison’, ‘Student Athletics Liaison’, ‘International Students Liaison’, ‘Resident Adviser Liaison’, and ‘Domestic Student Policy Liaison’); better advocate for marginalized students on campus and ensure ADA accessibility; and continue to confront interpersonal violence on and off campus.

The third pillar of Ethan’s platform focuses on sweeping organizational reform measures and new initiatives that he would introduce in Student Government. To accomplish his objective of Putting the Student Back in Student Government, he would work to restructure constituency engagement models so that senators are directly responsible for subsections of their class instead of everyone in their year; combat engagement and transparency deficits by creating a monthly newsletter entitled the ‘Speaker Series’ where he would give updates to the student body; increase the frequency of co-sponsorship legislation in the Senate to incentivize community engagement in legislative affairs; establish a campus wide ‘Civic Day of Service’ on election days aimed at reducing arbitrary barriers to civic engagement and voting while improving education on the history and significance of the democratic process through a ‘Democracy Week’; overhaul the appropriations process and ensure that all financial allocations and budget proposals are voted upon by the Senate; spearhead a North Carolina governance coalition based on grassroots advocacy and community partnership using models he has implemented with other SGA’s across the U.S.; and finally, Ethan would work to systematize organizational record keeping by appointing a Senate Historian as an Officer of the Senate and by working with ZSR Special Collections and Archives to digitize and make available existing records on file.

The fourth pillar of his platform is dedicated to Health and Wellness. Ethan believes that health and wellness among college aged students is a pandemic in its own right. To ensure that Demon Deacons can be the best version of themselves, Ethan will work to combat the mental health crisis in our communities and continue lobbying for an expansion of telehealth and counseling services across campus; expand access to menstrual and hygiene products on and off campus so that we can combat ‘period poverty’, tackle inequities in our healthcare system, and work to address ‘dental deserts’ that exist across the state. Ethan will also work to diversify non-traditional dining options such as vegan and kosher foods outside of the Pit while focusing on partnerships with local businesses.

The final pillar of Ethan’s platform is predicated upon Public Engagement and Representation. Ethan believes that Student Government has fallen short in engaging with our local communities, in addressing long-standing inequities outside the “Wake Bubble”, and in promoting civic education and the spirit of Pro Humanitate. As Speaker, Ethan will work to shift the paradigm by direct engagement with the student body vis-a-vis a reconfiguration of representation models, pilot campus wide Student Government events aimed at “getting to know your representatives”, pilot a new Executive Office Hours program so that our Executive members are spending their time engaging directly with students, and work to identify community needs in Cabinet.

If you are to take away anything from Ethan’s platform, it is that he is a firm believer in student governance and grassroots advocacy. He believes that Student Government has fallen short of its mandate to represent all students on campus in part because it has lost track of these values. Ethan will work diligently to combat the normalization of gross engagement deficits across campus and restore faith in our institutions of governance. Now more than ever, Ethan believes that is time to Put the Student Back in Student Government. He hopes that he can count on your support on April 13th.