The members of the Connect slate are all currently involved with Student Government. Renard Miller, second-year law school student and candidate for president, currently serves as the Chair to the Graduate Student Council and is a part of CORSO. Third-year Douglas Everson is a class representative and chair of the Student Government Financing Committee. Lastly, Yusef Al-Jarani is a first-year class representative and also serves on CORSO. Additionally, each member has been involved in various RSOs.
The slate’s experience manifests itself in a platform that centers largely on making SG more accountable and accessible to students, as well as on pursuing feasible goals. For one, their proposal for an SG blog with personal pages listing each member’s projects and accomplishments takes a laudable step toward ensuring SG members stay busy for their constituents. Other strong policy points include raising awareness about lesser-known sources of funding, using graduate students with work experience as CAPS resources for undergrads, and making undergraduate RSOs and activities more open to grad students.
While many of Connect’s planks are concrete and promising, one of their core issues—“bridging the gap” between graduates and undergraduates—seems a somewhat overambitious undertaking. To their credit, they profess to have achievable goals along these lines, such as the two mentioned above. However, their emphasis on the enormous task of connecting two disjointed groups makes one wonder whether they would devote themselves to enacting their other positive yet less glamorous changes. Further, while Connect’s “insider” status has great potential to advance student interests within the administration, it could also detach the executive slate from a student body already lacking in enthusiasm for Student Government. After all, it may be problematic for Student Government to be too in tune with the establishment, and Connect may be toeing a fine line.
ChicagoSpirit is comprised entirely of second-years, all of whom possess diverse RSO experience. Only presidential candidate Ben Yu has served in elected office, as well as on numerous advisory boards, including OMSA, dining, and IT. Both VP candidates have been active in RSOs and have worked on campus: Mohamad Abdallah as a research assistant and active member of the Muslim Students Association and Nicki Cherry as a tutor in the Mac Lab and staff member of Sliced Bread.
Spirit’s platform has three main planks: transportation, technology, and increased recognition for student groups. Whether SafeRide is kept or eliminated, they would like to see wider and more frequent coverage to ensure student safety and convenience, a view we share. They also want a Garfield–Red Line stop on the Roosevelt shuttle and expanded hours for the #2 bus to the Loop, measures which would positively impact access to the rest of the city. They believe the current state of the University wireless network is unacceptable, and want to keep the IT office better informed about problems experienced by students. They also display a unique focus on helping fraternities and club sports, and we support such efforts to reassess how SG can best serve all of its constituencies.
Although we believe it is important for SG officers to understand the role of RSO leaders in order to work with them more effectively, more experience in College Council could be a potentially valuable asset that ChicagoSpirit lacks. We also question how feasible some of their transportation initiatives are, given the CTA’s budget crisis and the University’s historical unwillingness to put more money into bus services. In addition, we think they might overstate the severity of issues with wireless internet, and are unsure what could be done to keep IT abreast of the problem beyond the already-extant IT advisory board.
Delta Upsilon’s perennial slate is running for the 19th year in a row, promoting its usual objective of making the U of C a more “bro” school. The slate, consisting of second-years Zihan Xu and Spencer Bledsoe, and first-year Daniel Kraft, is running on no Student Government experience with a comprehensive, but satirical, platform of policy and reform proposals; it’s a platform that is essentially recycled from year to year. However, none of this comes as a surprise, and the slate openly professes to be “passionate about losing.”
That being said, the Moose Party does serve a purpose beyond inducing laughs and perpetuating tradition. With its patently absurd policies and exasperatingly disruptive tactics, the party’s mere presence in the electoral race highlights a troubling aspect of Student Government. The Moose Party pointed out during Tuesday’s SG Debate that as an executive slate, rather than symbolically do nothing, they would simply do nothing without the guise of productivity. The implication of this statement—that Student Government is an ineffectual figurehead—does echo the sentiments of much of the U of C student body. This attitude also manifests itself in students’ reluctance for both direct and indirect participation in Student Government, evidenced by frequent unopposed elections and low voter turnout.
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