Student Association Endorsements: Marc Abanto for SA President

The Student Association run-off election is reflective of two opposing trends. One candidate, ostensibly, slid in as the top vote-getter by sharing a mobilization campaign with a slew of senatorial candidates working together on a slate. The other was the only candidate to successfully mobilize graduate school voters, outpacing her opponents in paper ballots – the ones used mostly in the law school and medical school – by a wide margin. Neither of these situations, however, means that the top two candidates – Marc Abanto and Nicole Capp – are the best fit for the SA’s top post. Still, they are both competent, if not overly impressive candidates.

Abanto’s experience, pragmatism and desire to continue the advocacy work of the current administration means he will most likely be the more successful out of the two in articulating student concerns to the administration – the SA president’s most important role. Therefore, the Hatchet endorses Marc Abanto in the SA presidential run-off election.

Abanto was originally the second choice for this paper’s general election endorsement, which praised him for his amicability and willingness to cooperate. This trait has been proven through Abanto’s two years of Senate experience, during which he collaborated with his colleagues on a number of different measures.

Still, the editorial board had and still has questions about his effectiveness as a leader who can stand up to senators and set a clear course for the SA.

Nonetheless, if Abanto is able to act as a strong president and keep the SA in line, he will be able to effectively manage the organization. Most importantly, Abanto seems to understand the advocacy role of the SA. Despite his hand in somewhat costly initiatives such as the Colonial Coach bus service to local airports, Abanto is not proposing any major initiatives that have the potential to squander money and take the focus off speaking for students.

The SA has emerged this year from a past filled with political squabbling and divisiveness among its members. Abanto’s ability to bring people together will no doubt be an asset in continuing an amicably operating SA that has ample time to deal with student concerns. Once again, this trait will only be an asset if Abanto is ready to draw a hard line when things seem to get out of hand.

Nicole Capp remains the most enthusiastic candidate who would bring a good deal of spirit and energy to the office. Unfortunately, she has an overly ambitious agenda. While transparency is, in general, a good thing, Capp’s “GWInformed” plan, if implemented, means that administrators will not have the chance to meet with her in a discreet manner – something that is often required for more sensitive subjects. She would inevitably find that administrators are more willing to cooperate off-the-record, meaning that she would have to go back on her campaign promises in order to achieve success.

Her GW411 plan, while also a good idea, is a recycled version of past SA President Audai Shakour’s Student Services and Advocacy Center – an initiative that initially received a good deal of hype but ultimately failed to live up to its potential.

Capp would benefit from a year in an executive-level position, learning about the political realities of the SA before seeking the presidency. With one more year of time working on advocacy under her belt, Capp would be an outstanding candidate for the presidency next year.

Ultimately, this year’s run-off seems to be dominated by politics of friendship and the prominence of the slates as opposed to outstanding candidates. No matter who wins the election, next year’s president will have definite disadvantages to overcome. Out of the two candidates, however, Abanto seems better suited to lead the SA, so long as he can overcome his weaknesses.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.