KU students David Stevens and Kim Cocks are candidates for student body president. Stevens' top goal is to close the gap between student government leaders and rank-and-file students.
David Stevens wants students to get REAL about Kansas University politics by electing a president with a revolutionary leadership style.
"If I win, we'll have office hours in the streets. I'll drag my desk out of the office and bring it down to Wescoe Beach," said Stevens, a Wichita junior running for president on the REAL Coalition.
As 1995-96 student body president, he would plug rank-and-file students into campus government. Leaders in the past haven't done it, he said.
"They don't reach out," he said in an interview outside Strong Hall. "The typical student -- that one walking in the black hat -- has no earthly idea where his $210 per semester is going."
Students will elect a new president April 12-13. Stevens and Mission senior Kim Cocks are the only candidates. She's running with the UNITED STUDENTS coalition.
Stevens' candidacy has attracted support from all corners. He's endorsed by officers in LesBiGayS OK, Black Student Union, Young Democrats, College Republicans, Oliver Hall, GREECS and Environs.
But pundits believe he's the underdog. The current student body president supports Cocks, who could be considered the fraternity/sorority nominee.
"Conventional wisdom is that we're fighting a machine that we can't beat," Stevens said.
His coalition's name stands for Responsible, Effective, Accessible Leadership.
Ever since working as a high school volunteer in the Wichita office of U.S. Rep. Dan Glickman, D-Kan., Stevens has been convinced government can help people regardless of political affiliation.
"I'm not into that partisan thing," he said. "I'm more interested in getting people my age interested in politics. I just want people to participate."
Stevens, a student senator, believes he's done much the past two years to connect with students.
He's an organizer of the KU political advocacy group Third Millennium. He helped set up the Student Legislative Awareness Board, a student lobbying group. He promoted campus voter registration drives and organized well-attended lectures at KU.
During the campaign, he's pledged to focus on off-campus affairs, such as lobbying the Legislature and Board of Regents. The coalition's vice president would have responsibility for on-campus activities.
Academically, Stevens said he's a good student. He completed a rigorous curriculum at Wichita East before enrolling at KU. Voted the person most likely to go to law school, he expects to get a law degree.
At first glance, he doesn't look the part of a student body president. He has a shaved head and wears ominous black sunglasses.
"I'm a big follower of underground punk rock music. I love it. It's my inspiration. That clearly sets me apart from most of people in Student Senate. Most don't get out into the mosh pit of the local music scene."