The Maroon Editorial Board endorses United Progress (U.P.) for Executive Slate. The slate consists of Tyler Kissinger for president, Alex Jung for vice president of administration, and Kenzo Esquivel for vice president of student affairs.
U.P. has real initiatives to address issues of socioeconomic and racial diversity and sexual assault, including a plan to work with affected groups to ensure that the diversity and inclusion climate survey released next fall addresses issues relevant to their communities. Furthermore, U.P.’s members have demonstrated an investment in reaching out to members of the student body affected by these issues. U.P.’s endorsements come from many student leaders who have given marginalized groups voices on campus. The members of U.P. have been listening to these groups and will come into office with formulated plans to address their needs. In some cases, these plans have already been put into action—including the climate surveys on both sexual assault and diversity and inclusion.
In addition, U.P. also has concrete plans for addressing more surface-level issues on our campus. The slate plans to create student-led committees as an arm of SG to address many different facets of student life, including academics, student services, and dining. These SG committees are more likely to advance change than the current administration-led “advisory boards” which are supposed to fulfill this role.
All of the members of the U.P. slate have previous experience in SG and have a demonstrated ability to get things done. In addition to the climate surveys, Kissinger presided over the rolling out of U-Pass (to be implemented fall 2016), significant steps forward in UCPD transparency, and a proposal for providing RSO leaders with stipends. This last proposal follows Kissinger’s initial plan to pay stipends to a newly created SG executive cabinet—a decision which was highly unpopular with students and never went through (despite other slates implying otherwise in their platforms). Kissinger’s new proposal learns from the criticisms students had of his first proposal, and shows his ability to listen and react to student complaints.
Finally, the Editorial Board opposes the proposal put forth by Open Minds, ONE, and Moose to announce their cabinets before the election is held. This change is supposed to address a lack of transparency in the cabinet selection process, but fails to realize that creating a cabinet without an application process open to all students is hardly transparent. An open application process which is clear in its criteria and expectations for cabinet members better serves our University.
More than any other slate, United Progress has an understanding of the issues facing a broad cross-section of our campus, and feasible, effective plans to address them.
ONE has several worthwhile proposals to help RSOs. They plan to make it possible for new organizations to apply for RSO status and SG funding online, which will be decided on a rolling basis instead of only twice each year. ONE also plans to publish more detailed information about SG’s budget online. However, although ONE effectively addresses these issues, it misses many more. They have three proposals for new annual parties (a fall carnival, spring firework show, and a formal in Mansueto), but only one proposal to address sexual assault (through more coverage during O-Week). While social life on campus is important, this imbalance suggests that ONE is out of touch with the concerns of a significant portion of our student body.
The Open Minds Slate has a detailed, impressive policy on sexual assault, though it was not included in the original version of their platform. They also have novel ideas regarding increased RSO involvement in student government, including the creation of an RSO congress for better communication between organizations on campus. However, such a large gathering of students meeting only twice a year will be unwieldy and is unlikely to effect meaningful change. The same goes for their proposed “Multicultural Conference” to deal with racial discrimination on campus. This conference offers little to alleviate the real problems affecting students of color. It gives them another avenue to discuss their concerns, but students of color have been discussing their concerns about the campus climate all year (and earlier). Being open-minded and listening to students is a good idea, but what is also needed now are real stances and action.
The Very Good Slate
The Very Good Slate’s platform emphasizes increased transparency through organizing town halls and holding more frequent social events for students. They plan to allocate more SG funds to student projects and to hold a month-long sexual assault prevention and awareness campaign in October. We commend them for their affordability initiatives, which include low-cost dining options on Saturday nights and more uniform house subsidies for students who cannot afford weekend activities. However, many other aspects of The Very Good Slates platform feel minor in comparison. Their platform has more to say about campus social events and recreation than diversity and inclusion. The Editorial Board is also not convinced of the slate’s ability to accomplish its initiatives. The slate’s candidates have a combined seven years of SG experience, but only pointed to one concrete accomplishment in their endorsement interview with The Maroon: Mike Viola and Holly Rapp pioneered the SG restaurant discount program.
This is the 21st year the Moose Party is running for Executive Slate. This year’s edition is not particularly impressive. While The Maroon endorses their plan to end all social constructs on campus, we somewhat doubt their ability to do so if elected.
What we said for Moose Party, but just a little worse.
—The Maroon Editorial Board