By Deborah Machalow
For the better part of three years, I have served as an elected official of the student body; I have always done what I believed was right and served the students faithfully, providing them with the government and representation they deserve. I cannot in good conscience sit this election entirely on the sidelines as that would be doing my constituents a disservice, despite the negative repercussions intervention will cause me. As a retiring elder stateswoman, I offer the following thoughts to the student body as it evaluates the candidates and determines for whom it will cast its ballots.
I advise you that picking a presidential candidate is a decision to be made between you and your gut. Remember, the biggest and most important task of the USG President is to be the face of the organization and thus represent the students to administration. Pick someone to whom you would feel comfortable entrusting your voice. At present, I would not trust any of the candidates, and therefore I am electing not to vote for any.
As for the Vice Presidency, here’s where I can provide you with true insight! This is the most involved and intricate position in USG; the EVP obviously runs the Senate, but he also is responsible for the internal operations of the organization. It is therefore necessary to have someone in this position who is loyal first and foremost to the students and to the organization/president second. A bit of conflict should be expected and is a good thing as compromise is more likely to favor the students. As far as I’m concerned, there is one qualified candidate running, and the other two, if elected, would disserve the students by not providing independent thought, not having the necessary experience, and by being personally loyal to their selected presidents, not the student body.
As someone who has served in this position for over a year, I can definitively tell you that in order for someone to be successful, he needs to have been in the Senate first. If you look at the experience of the three candidates, only one, Jason Sockin, has been a voting member of the Senate. Of the other two, one has proxied (after which she reportedly said she never wanted to attend another Senate meeting), and the other has not attended a single meeting. The fact that two of the candidates have not been attending Senate meetings is disturbing; further proof that these two ladies would disserve the students.
Turning to the Treasury, again, it is a competition between experience and naivety. Despite his past, Allen Abraham is clearly the better choice. As a Senator, he had great organizational vision. After almost a semester away, he has had the time necessary to step back and examine the Government and now he has many ideas about how to modify processes and have USG better serve the students. I know questions will be raised about his resignation, but he has truly matured from the experience and has learned a valuable lesson. He will be of even greater value to the students now. Also, after hearing his opposition speak at a recent LegReview meeting, it is clear that Cyril has a dearth of organizational knowledge and a disturbing bias which could disenfranchise a large number of students on campus.
As for the other vice presidents, I’m thrilled that Amanda Cohen is running unopposed. She is truly doing an amazing job as VP of Clubs and Organizations and the students have acknowledged her dedication, sincerity, and helpfulness. She has excelled since taking office and I’m thrilled the students will continue to have her serving them next year. She truly is the best woman for the job and I wish her well. The students are really lucky to have her.
The only other vice presidency I will discuss is the Vice President of Student Life. The VP of Student Life is primarily responsible for the activities of the USG SAB. It is no secret that this agency is the one that causes the most grief and the most drama for USG, and it is the most expensive. It is therefore important to have an engaged and competent man in this position. Current RHA President Nick Ela is the right choice. In contrast to the drama and insanity of the agency, he is level-headed, calm and constantly brainstorming ideas about how to improve student life and USG as a whole. It is obvious from his time spent giving out free hugs in the SAC to attending USG SAB meetings, that improving student life is a priority for him. His candidacy is not an intended stepping stone to the presidency, but truly an attempt to improve the student experience.
I won’t address the other positions, but I will leave you with a thought on the Senate: pick wisely. You do not want a collegial Senate. A friendly Senate allows the Executive Council to metaphorically get away with murder. The Students need active and involved Senators to keep the power-hungry Executive Council in check. Having a variety of ideas, experiences, and voices in the Senate will promote lengthy debate and, as pointed out by James Madison in Federalist #10, create the best legislation. Elect Senators who are not afraid to ask questions, state their opinions, and challenge things that look wrong.
Only you will be with you when you make your decisions about whom to vote. I’m only providing my opinions as someone who has put her blood, sweat and tears into USG. Remember, whoever gets your vote gets your voice. Pick only the people who you believe will represent you effectively. Choose wisely.