On the April day Camden Layton assumed his role as student body president, the campus was gearing up for a major townhall meeting with students and administrators addressing pressing concerns regarding campus sexual assault and Title IX policies. Things haven’t slowed down since: Layton’s presidency has been filled with additional new challenges—and exciting changes—from the first moment he took office.
In addition to dealing with the daily dilemmas and dramas thrust upon him as Mason’s student body president, Layton plans to improve the school’s relationship with the community, protect minority students, and push the administration to take more rigorous action against sexual assault on campus.
As a senior Public Administration major in the Schar School of Policy and Government, Layton has found his calling in higher-education policy. “After taking interim president Anne Holton’s education policy course, I realized my passion for improving the quality of student life and education on campus,” he said.
“Our faculty [in the Schar School] is legendary,” he added. “The professors have taught me so much about how higher education is tied with Congress.”
Layton is using his coursework to better understand issues in higher education policy to prepare for January’s annual Mason Lobbies event. Students will head to Richmond to voice their concerns to statehouse representatives on issues such as college affordability and financial aid to students, among other topics.
As student body president, Layton will be developing new strategies to improve student life with Adia McLaughlin, vice president and a Government and International Politics major. “We are starting a new video series called ‘Patriots in the City,’” he said. “We want to improve communication with the community through introducing students to local restaurants and businesses.” Watch episode one here.
“The biggest challenges in my presidency so far has been that first week with the sexual assault townhall and the week President [Ángel] Cabrera left,” he recalled. “The student body president works closely with the campus president, and with Cabrera gone, it felt like our plans had been thrown out the window.”
Layton’s outlook began to improve when none other than Schar School Visiting Professor Anne Holton was announced as interim president. “She has been so easy to work with,” he said. “The school could not have gotten a better replacement.”
“I was delighted to have Camden in my class and even more delighted to see him in this leadership role at Mason,” Holton said in an email statement. “He will go on to do great things in Ed Policy!”
Layton suggested being a Public Administration major in the Schar School is a benefit to his position as a student leader.
“The connections I have gained through the Schar School have been awesome,” he said. “All of the professors are willing to give advice and career help.”
After graduation in May of 2020, Layton plans to attend law school or pursue a Master’s in Public Policy with an emphasis area in higher education policy at the Schar School.