Faced with the first contested race for Student Council president since 2012, the student body is fortunate to have a choice between two excellent, qualified and incredibly different candidates in second-year College student Abraham Axler and third-year College student Locher Grove. In an immensely difficult decision, we have decided to endorse Axler in this election.
Axler and Grove embody two very different leadership styles — Axler is hands-on, brimming with initiatives, and Grove is hands-off, preferring to enhance and support work stemming from the Council’s committees. Both styles have their merits, but we were ultimately persuaded by Axler’s plans for his term.
At times Axler’s platform is too ambitious — he includes initiatives regarding two federal laws in his plans — but for the most part, his ideas are comprehensive and demonstrate an understanding for the needs of various University communities. In particular, we were impressed by Axler’s plans for increasing safety, his understanding that Council did not do enough to respond to controversies outside the scope of the Rolling Stone article and his plans to make Council more transparent (including by maintaining the newly-created public Trello page). Axler has clearly reached out to all the communities at our school and taken the time to learn what they need from Student Council, and plans to eliminate inner turf wars within Council so the organization can function smoothly.
Grove’s experience and ideas were also persuasive. He has a clear ability to work with others, an admirable idea of how the president should function as a manager and seeks to encourage other members of Council to help shape the agenda so that the president’s position is less top-down. For students seeking this type of leadership, Grove is an obvious choice. But when making this decision the managing board considered heavily the controversies and tragedies of last semester, and ultimately came to the conclusion that this next term needs strong leadership. We do not think Axler’s agenda will inhibit inclusion of other members of Council, and were impressed by his extensive knowledge of the inner-workings of the organization and the issues facing our community now. It would be naive to assume students of all backgrounds are being included in discussions with our administrators, and we believe Axler will be able to break down the door to get students and their perspectives into these discussions. Axler will bring the initiative and savvy necessary for this year’s Student Council president.
The election for Vice President for Organizations is also contested. Between second-year College student Emily Lodge and second-year College student Adrien Carré, our endorsement goes to Carré. He has several tangible ideas about how to streamline communication between Student Council and CIOs and how to improve the appropriations process so that funding is allocated more effectively. Lodge focused mostly on her commitment to service, which, while impressive, did not reflect the same attention to all elements of being VPO that Carré demonstrated. We are confident Carré will be organized and attentive to the needs of student groups in this position.
Daria Winsky, a third-year in the Batten school, is the only candidate running to be Vice President for Administration. She is highly qualified for the position in terms of experience, but impressed us especially with her plans to improve internal efficiency, her initiative last semester to create an extensive training program for incoming Council members, her interest in proactive outreach to all pockets of the University community and her constructive criticisms of the initiative “StudCo Comes to You,” which she felt was poorly advertised and ultimately ineffective. Improvements to the program, according to Winsky, would include earlier scheduling so there is time to advertise and more intentional placement of meetings. Winsky is clearly organized and has several tangible initiatives in store, and we look forward to seeing what her term brings.
We are pleased that more Student Council races are contested this year, and hope this signifies more student interest in what our governing body does. We are confident the combination of Axler, Carré and Winsky will serve our student body well over the next year.