Student Council endorsements

The Editorial Board endorses Sarah Kenny for president, Alex Cintron for VPA

University students have two starkly different Student Council presidential candidates to choose from this election year. One displays a vast range of experience, knowledge and passion for StudCo and the other only has a narrow vision for what she would like to achieve during her time as StudCo president. Sarah Kenny, the current Vice President of Administration, is the most qualified candidate running for StudCo president and has the best plan to move StudCo into the direction of equity for all University students. Kenny seeks to move the organization into a direction of equal representation and to make sure representatives are well-equipped to properly address the concerns of their constituencies.

While Kelsey Kilgore, Kenny’s opponent, wishes to change StudCo as an outsider — Kilgore has no prior StudCo experience — she lacks the institutional knowledge to do so effectively. Kilgore is a member of the women’s soccer team and Delta Delta Delta. While these experiences have provided her with a sense of leadership and teamwork, she is unqualified for the position of StudCo president since she has not directly interacted with student government affairs. Within her platform, one of Kilgore’s top priorities is to “improve the safety for all students,” but her plan is minimal: “a prevention week fair,” “increase the lighting on Grounds near dorms” and “organize ambassadors … to walk students home.” In addition, another initiative to increase campus safety is to have a mobile app for Safe Ride, but Safe Ride already has a mobile app option. Perhaps Kilgore meant to say she wants to improve the already existing mobile app, or, due to her lack of experience, did not realize this feature is an existing option for University students.

Kenny, on the other hand, provides a clear vision within her platform for inclusion and better representation by looking at how StudCo often is criticized for being disconnected with the student body. She openly understands StudCo needs to address “the institution’s flaws” and this in effect motivated her “to run for a position that would allow [her] to confront them.” Kenny aims to increase representation equity by increasing the scale of town hall policy working groups associated with diversity, equity and inclusion. Such working groups are meant to create policy through partnerships with organizations like the Minority Rights Coalition and the Black Student Alliance to advance equity within “student self-governance and student programming.”

Along with the Editorial Board’s endorsement of Kenny, the board also is endorsing Alex Cintron, the current Chair of the Representative Body, for Vice President of Administration. Cintron in a similar vein to Kenny wants to better the system of representation through more efficient administrative measures: improved transition materials for members and more effective committee structures.

Cintron is running on a joint platform with Ty Zirkle, the current Director of University Relations and a candidate for Vice President of Organizations. The board, however, will not be endorsing Zirkle. We do not believe he would effectively facilitate relationships with CIOs on Grounds. In particular, the board does not believe raising the student activities fee, as Zirkle said in his endorsement interview with members of the board, is a responsible solution to increase funding for CIOs since new CIOs are continually created and thus increased funding will be needed essentially every year. In addition, the board has heard from multiple organizations on Grounds that the Winter Activities Fair, organized by Zirkle, lacked accessibility for all CIOs to be active members of the fair. CIOs should not be denied access to recruitment fairs organized by the body who determines their funding.

The Editorial Board interviewed nine candidates running to be StudCo representatives, and we are endorsing three of those candidates: David Birkenthal for the College, Shivani Saboo for the Engineering School and Al Ahmed for the Curry School. All of these candidates showcased how they would best represent their respective constituencies and showed a level of humility in how StudCo needs to be reformed to better represent University students. Additionally, these three candidates understood the challenges that face the schools they represent and how StudCo could build a better working relationship with those schools.

Representation was the guiding philosophy for the board’s endorsement process for StudCo. We endorsed candidates who have a clear vision for how representation within StudCo can be improved and how their previous experience has enabled them to make true student representation a reality.

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