This week, the student body will choose its new Student Council President, Vice President for Administration and Vice President for Organizations. The individuals elected to serve in these roles must be able to both understand and address the concerns of the student body. This Editorial Board endorses third-year College student Tichara Robertson for Student Council President, fourth-year Batten student Holly Sims for Vice President for Administration and third-year Batten student Violette Cadet for Vice President for Organizations, respectively. Running on a ticket together, Robertson, Sims and Cadet have shared what they call the “Community Coalition, a platform centered around “solidarity, accessibility and uplift.” Each of them has the institutional experience to make mental health care more accessible to marginalized students, boost access to funding for Contracted Independent Organizations and positively impact the overall perception — and engagement — that the student body has of and with Student Council. We believe these three candidates have laid out a detailed and ambitious plan to leverage Student Council’s resources for the betterment of the entire student body — we look forward to seeing them accomplish what they have set out to do.
At the head of the ticket, Robertson possesses the experience and empathy necessary to serve the needs of all students. She has led the Support and Access Services branch of Student Council and serves as the president of the Minority Rights Coalition — she has overseen the implementation of successful projects like the Textbook Access Office and Airbus. Robertson seeks to leverage her leadership experiences to improve Counseling and Psychological Services by diversifying the pool of existing counselors, in order to more effectively serve marginalized students. Additionally, she wants to work with Student Financial Services to increase access and availability for students.
The most notable project that Robertson has proposed is a long-term goal to address cultural enrichment through what she referred to as a “Black dorm experience.” Referencing Virginia Tech’s similar program, the dorm would be an open opportunity for all students — not just Black students — to learn about Black history and culture. Similar to how Echols scholars have a designated first-year dorm, Robertson plans to make space for community and hopes to expand it to other marginalized student groups if successful. While this Editorial Board supports Robertson's broader aim to cultivate belonging for historically marginalized students, we encourage her to consider ways to make her plan more feasible in the face of ongoing University construction projects and housing concerns in Charlottesville.
Sims brings a different perspective to the table through her involvement in Housing and Residence Life, currently serving as the co-chair for the organization. Having lived on Grounds all four years, with a plan to do so in her fifth year as a graduate student, Sims is entrenched in student life here on Grounds and is familiar with how to cultivate community across diverse groups of students. Sims will be responsible for overseeing the internal workings of Student Council as the VPA. We expect her to use her experiences with HRL to not only communicate but address the specific needs of all students — despite her position as a Graduate student. Sims aims to improve the experience of CIOs through purchasing cards and oversee the strategic allocation of the additional funds raised from the increased Student Activities Fee. The connections she has made through her extensive experience as a student leader will prove to be an important advantage that she must exercise if she wants to successfully implement these goals.
This ticket would not be complete without a strong VPO candidate, and Cadet both completes and reinforces the goals of this group. Cadet is involved in several organizations across Grounds, making her both well-connected and well-versed on how to improve the student experience. Cadet’s platform includes action items like allocating more funds to the Student Accessibility Committee and collaborating with Student Council’s data science team to increase transparency with the student body. Cadet also suggests that consultants — advocates for CIOs within Student Council — should come from the CIO they are representing, giving them better knowledge of the needs of the organization. While we are excited about these ideas, we hope to see Cadet demonstrate a deeper understanding of how funds have been historically allocated to CIOs in order to effectively streamline the process and accurately determine places for improvement. Nonetheless, like her running mates, her familiarity with student self-governance coupled with her ambitious platform make her the best candidate for the position.
All three of these candidates stood out for their detailed vision for a better University. They all have the knowledge and experience necessary to build on the work of previous Student Council leaders and have earned our endorsement because of these traits. We expect Robertson, Sims and Cadet will work together to achieve the goals they have laid out for us over the past few days — this Editorial Board, along with the rest of the student body, will be watching with hope and anticipation. Ultimately, though, change takes time. Robertson, Sims and Cadet have dedicated much of their student experiences to making the University better than they found it. They deserve the opportunity to deliver on this platform and, with polls open, students have the opportunity to give it to them.
The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associates and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at email@example.com.