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Student Council President endorsement

The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board endorses Alex Cintron

<p>Cintron has been a member of Student Council since his first year at the University and has most recently served as Student Council’s Vice President for Administration.</p>

Cintron has been a member of Student Council since his first year at the University and has most recently served as Student Council’s Vice President for Administration.

Individual endorsement interviews and the Student Council Presidential Candidate Forum provided The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board with rich insight into the platforms of Alex Cintron, Jalon Daniels and Eddie Lin. Each candidate expressed a distinct vision for the Council’s role in the University community, and the board was impressed by several aspects of each platform. The board evaluated each candidate’s goals and concrete policy proposals enumerated in their platforms, interviews and participation in the forum. The board is endorsing Cintron in light of his vision for a more accessible and action-oriented Council. 

Cintron’s experience as Vice President for Administration has prepared him well for the presidency. Charged with managing the inner-workings of the Council, Cintron learned to promote programs that addressed issues affecting students’ daily lives and long-term experience at the University. These programs include his work with Legislative Advisory Board, which has given students a stronger political voice, as well as his work as chair of Student Legal Services regarding immigration cases and their implications. The VPA’s task of composing and regulating the Council’s budget would also aid Cintron as president — an understanding of the Council’s financial capabilities is essential to prioritizing practical goals. Though each of the candidates bring leadership experience to this election, Cintron’s background best equips him for the presidency.

In the forum Monday, Cintron described the University in one word as “elitist.” His vision for the Council would facilitate meaningful engagement with underrepresented communities through programs such as diverse student representation in the faculty hiring process and a freely available closet of professional attire. Cintron would further his commitment to Council accessibility by holding himself and his administration accountable. He has demonstrated his willingness to critique the system — for example, in a recent interview, Cintron said the Council should have signed onto the demands of the March to Reclaim our Grounds earlier and that the Council, “should have been more policy-focused on how we supported” the demands. Although Cintron’s past actions does not necessarily imply that he will continue to hold himself to that same standard, he has acknowledged the student body’s desire for a more accountable Council and plans to shape the Council into an “active instigator of policy change.”

Several concrete policy initiatives ground Cintron’s goals in reality. He would prioritize accessibility to feminine hygiene products for both students and workers, and would research multiple ways of doing so in order to remain cost efficient while providing this necessary service. In addition, Cintron plans to implement a chair and vice chair structure to committees in order to better hold Council members accountable. Cintron’s platform also acknowledges the rising tuition costs at the University, and plans to increase transparency regarding tuition proposals and give students a more valuable role in the process. Through these and other tangible actions, Cintron’s administration would effectively accomplish its goals. 

Lin’s candidacy is defined by its focus on “student voice, everywhere.” This message is a strong testament to Lin’s desire to “benefit all students,” however this lofty goal is undermined by vague policy and a lack of accountability measures. Under Lin’s policies, the Council would play a relatively passive role in University life. Bolstering listening tours, Speak Up UVA and the public comment period of general body meetings would not put the Council in control of its actions — rather, the Council would rely on the University community taking action to advocate for their concerns. The board believes that the Council should actively seek out community involvement, rather than simply provide a forum for the public to act. In addition, Lin’s promise to increase committee chairs’ autonomy would undermine the Council’s ability to function as a unified body. While this policy may give committees the opportunity to address a wider range of issues, Lin’s ability to accomplish his goals may be limited. 

While Daniels offered a passionate account of the role of the Council in University life, the board is concerned about his effectiveness as president. His platform relies on vague goals, such as increased student safety without concrete policies to back them up. In addition, the board is concerned about his institutional knowledge as a first-year. One important duty of the president is to appoint committee chairs, and his lack of familiarity with the Council would inhibit his ability to perform this task. 

Through high-reaching goals and concrete policies, Cintron is well-positioned to serve as Council president. The board was impressed by his ability to articulate his platform, as well as his professionalism in his campaign. Although Lin and Daniels bring valuable insights to the presidency, Cintron would best serve the University community.