The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Emily Lodge for Student Council president

The editorial board also endorses Kenny, Hodgson for VPA, VPO

After careful consideration, we have decided to endorse third-year Batten student Emily Lodge for Student Council president. We were impressed by her past experience as the Vice President for Organizations, a role in which she committed significant time to building relationships with CIOs around Grounds. In this position, she has developed a keen sensitivity to and understanding of the wide variety of student concerns in the University community. She has a vision for the direction of Student Council — one guided by her background in creating connections with student groups — that will best ensure its future as an organization responsive to constituents’ concerns.

Our several interviews with Student Council candidates for other positions have supported the notion that Lodge is approachable and diligent in her work. She emphasized her interest in expanding student polling to ensure student opinions are more accurately assessed to better inform Student Council leadership in its decision-making.

As the incumbent, third-year College student Abraham Axler has developed considerable relationships with members of the administration. His institutional knowledge is significant and should by no means be disregarded. Moreover, he shows a genuine commitment to increasing student involvement with Student Council and making it a truly deliberative body.

Nonetheless, Lodge’s vision of leadership demonstrates an acute appreciation for the collaborative process that we believe should form the basis of Student Council’s affairs. While Axler also demonstrated concern about the effectiveness of Student Council’s current infrastructure, we believe Lodge presented a more concrete plan for revising the Council’s extant infrastructure so that it could better hear and respond effectively to community concerns; this included, for example, a plan to defer additional discretion over membership to current committee chairs and a proposal for a new committee that would be open to all students and specifically concerned with community affairs. This proposal responds to other Student Council members’ concerns that Axler’s decision to overhaul the Student Council membership process, which was previously controlled by committee chairs, has rendered many committees ineffective.

This choice was made after lengthy discussion and debate, as both Lodge and Axler have demonstrated tremendous commitment to and understanding of this organization. Either candidate will serve the student body well. We are lucky to be faced with such a difficult decision.

In the election for Vice President of Administration, we endorse second-year College student Sarah Kenny, who currently serves as the co-chair of the Public Service Committee. Her experience with and passion for management are considerable and well-suited for the role which she seeks. Despite running on a ticket with Axler, Kenny appears well-suited to work with either Axler or Lodge. We are confident her accessibility, attention to detail and enterprising spirit — as illustrated by her public service record — make her a natural fit for a position that oversees the organization’s operations. Second-year College student Uhunoma Edamwen, her opponent, showed enthusiasm for cultivating an inclusive environment within Student Council, and we were impressed by his track record in doing so as a College representative. While he certainly brings vision to the position, Kenny possesses the organizational expertise necessary to ensure the efficient operation of Student Council activities on a daily basis.

Similarly, the election for VPO is contested, and we endorse second-year Engineering student MacKenzie Hodgson, who currently serves as an Engineering representative. She demonstrates realistic ambitions for the role, including sustained engagement with CIOs following initial approval and appropriations. Additionally, she aims to utilize the CIO consultants within Student Council in order to scale back the bureaucratic duties of the VPO and increase internal efficiency. While she holds no experience as a member of the Appropriations Committee, she shows a perceptive understanding of the VPO’s role, including the importance of maintaining relationships with student organizations. Her opponent, third-year College student Alex Cutting, holds one year of experience on the Appropriations Committee. He exhibits a strong awareness of the bureaucratic component of the position, but his platform lacks the concern for student engagement presented by Hodgson.

In last year’s Student Council elections, only two of the three races were contested. In contrast, each of the Student Council elections this year are contested. We hope this trend is indicative of growing interest in self-governance and continues in the future.