In the spirit of tonight’s Oscars and the suspense that builds up around not knowing who won, we’re posting our Editorial Board’s endorsements before our online and print editions come out. Without further ado:
- SA President – No One, with Vishal and OG being better two choices
- SA Executive Vice President – Kyle Boyer
- Program Board Chair – Tiffany Meehan
So, why? How did we arrive at our decisions? I’ll give a quick overview, first with PB, then EVP and lastly the more difficult decision of president.
Both Tiffany Meehan and Kate Prescott are excellent choices, and both would likely do a good job running Program Board next year. Out of the three groups of candidates we met with this past week, we were most impressed by the qualifications of the two ladies running for PB chair. Both have experience in the organization in recent years, both are organized and both hope to improve on this year’s successes and shortcomings.
We chose Tiffany over Kate because the former showed more interest in doing what it takes to bring bigger musical acts to campus. Managing a band in New York, working at the 930 Club and having a relationship with a D.C.-based production company, Tiffany has the experience and connections to improve campus entertainment. The days of having John Mayer and No Doubt on campus are long gone, but perhaps equally prominent headliners can come to Foggy Bottom next year.
The decision was basically between Kyle Boyer and Ted O’Neil. Raven Burnett is a good person, with her heart in the right place and a drive to realize change; however, she lacks the necessary experience to get much done. O’Neil has a very ambitious platform, which unfortunately might be a bit too ambitious to work on in office. His accomplishments thus far center around Senate rules and bylaws which are undoubtedly of little import to the average student.
Boyer, as assistant vice president of community affairs, is also lacking in the tangible accomplishments department as of yet. But his work on student-discounted Metro fare has been in the works for a while and should hopefully see results this semester. Taking on a small handful of achievable – albeit time-consuming – projects has worked well for the executive this year, so Boyer’s smaller list of goals (in comparison to O’Neil) is prudent. Also, Boyer conducted himself in a serious, yet relatable way, that would serve himself well when conducting senate meetings.
Reaching the decision of endorsing no one for the SA presidency was not an easy call. After meeting all the contenders for this position on Saturday and deliberating in great depth, we slept on it. On Sunday, it became more clear that this year’s crop of candidates wasn’t stellar, and not one single person rose above the others as a clear choice. Endorsing someone for the sake of saying you have an endorsement isn’t productive. Here are some of the determining factors of our decision:
Tarek al-Hariri has minimal experience in campus leadership, having run a non-registered student organization and contributed nothing to student government. Additionally, he missed his endorsement hearing and showed up a half-hour late only after our editor in chief called him (not to mention his excuse for being late was lacking in creativity at best, and deceitful at worst).
Kevin Kozlowski spouted off more taglines for platform initiatives than tangible results of his senate tenure. In the video portion of our endorsements, he used the phrase “tangible results” to describe how he’s the only candidate to have brought them to the University. When asked which ones, he could only say that he contributed to Elliott School advisers having an AIM screen name and to passing a non-binding resolution in the fall. Probably over-coached, Kozlowski used expressions such as “being the change you want to see” – an uncited rip-off of Gandhi.
Ogheneruemu “OG” Oyiborhoro, on the other hand, has actually done things during his time in the senate. He brought The Onion newspapers to campus, has helped get 3,000 pounds of food to the D.C. Central Kitchen (according to his estimates) and tried to promote awareness of hatred at GW. The problem is that the way he has spearheaded some of these initiatives has been mired in controversy. The GW FEED funding problems, walking out of a senate meeting when upset with legislation being debated and the improper handling of his candidacy petitions all point to one common theme: OG has a penchant for skirting the rules and being combative.
Vishal Aswani is much more affable in his temperment and likely has a better reputation among administrators. He has worked to mitigate problems in the engineering school, which he represents on the senate. Many of his ideas show research that extends beyond GW to the operations of other universities. Unfortunately, his privatization of J Street goal seems a bit too unrealistic to be a major part of his platform, and his interactions with the Editorial Board about this issue rubbed some the wrong way.
Many candidates had similar ideas about improving the University. From improving campus dining to improving communication among members of the GW community to creating useful databases, bold initiatives abounded. The problem is that, despite the successes of this year’s SA leaders, not much has been achieved by GW student government in recent years. And what has been achieved often isn’t on candidates’ platforms; it comes from collaboration between multiple people while in office. Thus, what is of chief importance in choosing a candidate is not their platform initiatives, but rather their experience and leadership skills.
That in mind, we found no single candidate worthy of our endorsement.
After the Editorial Board reached its joint decision, there was talk about whether we would do a disservice to our readers by not advocating for anyone. Our editorial concludes with a call for students to make their own individual decision and – very importantly – vote. We don’t want our disappointment in the candidates to spur on apathy and dissuade voting. Rather, we want to express our reservations about all four but give special consideration to Vishal and OG: the lesser of the four evils (metaphorically speaking) in this race.
Please let us know how we got it wrong or right this year in our endorsements, or lack thereof. Post away!