Endorsement for SA President: Jason Lifton

After assessing the strengths of both candidates, The Hatchet’s editorial board endorses Jason Lifton for the position of Student Association president. Although both candidates exemplified generally positive qualities, we believe that Lifton, the current executive vice president, is better suited for the job.

During our endorsement hearings, Lifton demonstrated a deep understanding of GW’s administrative hierarchy while identifying student concerns and methods for achieving progress on his platform. Although his opponent, Xochitl Sanchez, is obviously enthusiastic and has a notable knowledge of the student experience on campus, she lacks the technical understanding of how to effectively use the role of SA President to achieve the same progress.

Lifton’s strengths come mostly from his experience with the Student Association and his record of advocacy with the administration. He is able to concisely break down the multifaceted issues plaguing students and discuss potential solutions with fluency. He holds a realistic sense of what can be accomplished and knows how to effectively allocate his energies toward feasible goals. While all candidates (those for executive vice president included) claim to want improvement in dining options, primarily focusing on J Street, Lifton knew the most about the issue’s complex characteristics and therefore represents the best choice we have for actual change on the perennial issue. In addition, Lifton promised in his endorsement hearing to set alcohol amnesty and increased study space as priorities for his administration. Finally, we are encouraged by his record of effective advocacy on advising.

However, we have certain reservations about Lifton’s candidacy. Although he has the ability to specifically outline his ideas in person, his formal platform is noticeably devoid of detail. This is disconcerting because it raises the issue of accountability. Instead of having a clear record of his intentions for office readily available, students would have to directly question Lifton to fully understand his positions, making the task of measuring his progress next year more difficult. We are also concerned that Lifton will not be a forceful enough representative of the student body once he reaches office. A fundamental problem with past SA administrations has been a hesitation to publicly criticize the University. We worry Lifton may follow suit. We are also apprehensive about Lifton’s performance in the role of EVP. The only constitutional responsibilities of the EVP role involve running the SA Senate, a realm in which Lifton’s performance has faltered.

Every year it seems that at least one candidate is named the “outsider,” and this year that candidate is Xochitl Sanchez. Her enthusiasm and detachment from the Student Association are refreshing aspects of her campaign. Better than Lifton, she seemed to have an understanding of the student experience at GW.

While Sanchez identified important student issues, she did not sufficiently explain how to go about solving those issues. Her many experiences with various student organizations have given her an above average sense of GW’s administrative body, but it is far from comprehensive. Another weakness in Sanchez’s candidacy is her written platform. The statement lacks both substance and detail, reading more like the result of a focus group’s brainstorming than an actual plan for tangible change.

Ultimately, our reservations about Lifton’s candidacy are largely overshadowed by his strengths. If elected, it is clear that he would be the more effective president. Vote for Jason Lifton for Student Association president 2010-2011.

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