The role of Student Association executive vice president is not glamorous. The EVP must plan for Senate meetings, bridge the gap between the Senate and the executive and remain neutral in debate to avoid getting bogged down in the petty divisiveness that usually permeates the Senate. After concluding meetings with The Hatchet’s editorial board, three candidates proved themselves capable of executing the position if elected. Two candidates in particular – Josh Lasky and Kirk Haldeman – distinguished themselves significantly from their opponents. After difficult deliberations, The Hatchet is proud to endorse Kirk Haldeman for EVP.
Although Haldeman and the other candidates are all proposing service initiatives, the EVP rarely has the time to execute goals peripheral to running the Senate. Above all, Haldeman seems most interested in running an efficient legislative branch, as evidenced by his desire to finish most Senate housekeeping activities early in the fall so that the body can focus on other priorities.
Haldeman also understands that the Senate is not the best vehicle for student advocacy, since its members are not necessarily experts in the myriad issues confronting students. Haldeman wants to outsource student advocacy by having senators collaborate with issue-driven student organizations to engender grassroots support and action behind each piece of Senate legislation.
As a member of this year’s Senate Finance Committee, Haldeman attended the meetings of a variety of student organizations to better understand the way that student money is utilized. He acknowledges that the most important role of a largely ineffective SA is the allocations process and has a sincere desire to improve the distribution of student funds.
Regardless of whether Haldeman can accomplish his campaign goals, it seems clear that his experience this year will facilitate a smooth allocations process under his leadership.
Most importantly, Haldeman is realistic. He understands that there are certain policies on which the administration will not budge and others where there is room for negotiation. Rather than wasting his time on abstract or long-term goals, he will focus his energies on issues within the SA’s purview.
Josh Lasky, the other candidate seriously considered for endorsement, is hard-working and committed to improving student life. He has extensive institutional experience within both the Senate and University departments. Having served as a community facilitator, Lasky was unafraid of criticizing the policies of his employers and directly contributed to the redefinition of the CF role for next year.
Lasky has forged relationships with many administrators but remains connected to students. He is a member of a fraternity and vice president of the men’s ultimate frisbee team. Although we believe that Lasky would be an effective EVP, there are concerns about his ability to balance his commitments to the University and the EVP’s role as a student representative. For instance, during his interview Lasky said that as a member of Colonial Cabinet 2006, University administrators have already placed restrictions on his campaign rhetoric.
Angela Chang is also a strong candidate but lacks necessary experience. She is committed to student issues such as textbook prices and the reform of Student Health Services. Unfortunately, the EVP position is not an appropriate vehicle for addressing these issues. Chang could be an important member of next year’s SA administration by channeling her energies into a cabinet role to advance her agenda.
With such stellar candidates, the EVP endorsement was a difficult decision. Overall, however, Haldeman seems to be the best candidate. He understands University and SA operations without being beholden to its petty politics. Haldeman is principled rather than political and holds the respect of his political opponents. He deserves serious consideration by all voters interested in seeing an efficient SA Senate.