For the past several years, The Observer has endorsed candidates running for positions in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) executive elections, which will run April 6th and 7th. Students can vote on OrgSync.
Our endorsement committee was made of five select members of the Editorial Board: our Executive Editor, three directors and our Opinion Editor. Our Sports Editor, who moderated the debate, News Editor and main USG reporter sat on the committee in a non-voting advisory role.
We chose to endorse candidates for the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Student Life positions due to their deep field and the fact that they are more issue-based positions. We also commented on the Vice President of Finance and President candidates, which we were disappointed to see only had one applicant each this year. We end this piece with our thoughts on the proposed Student Executive Council (SEC) reforms, which also are on the ballot.
Each candidate had admirable qualities. We are impressed by the work are willing to put to have the opportunity to not only serve other students on this campus but be in key positions to represent them. We hope they all find a way to accomplish their suggestions and goals during the next school year and would like to see them all continue to work with the USG.
Vice President of Academic Affairs: Vote Caroline Gray
We are looking for a candidate that not only has leadership qualities but also experience. The issues a VP of Academic Affairs has to deal with can be tricky. This year will be a critical year to have an strong VP of Academic Affairs with issues such as need-aware admissions coming to debate.
Caroline Gray has worked with the current VP of Academic Affairs, Nishant Uppal, and is thus familiar with not only the inner workings of the position, but also the administrators to which she will represent the student body. When pressed, we saw that she knew many of those the position requires working with on a personal level.
At the same time, Gray will be able to lead an effective Academic Affairs Committee. Her leadership skills will continue over to the position. We saw her grasp current issues well, a quality of a prudent leader.
She has the leadership skill set and inside knowledge to keep the Academic Affairs Committee from stagnating and continuing the progress USG made this year.
Vice President of Student Life: Barry Goldberg
We were looking for a candidate who is willing to stand up and tell others when student needs on this campus are not being met. If you are too, then Barry Goldberg is your candidate.
This year saw USG push administrators on issues that an obvious majority of students saw unresolved. We see Goldberg continuing this legacy of speaking up on behalf of students. Communication skills are a must for the VP of Student Life to properly speak for students. When pressed, we saw that Goldberg has the right mix of drive and thoughtfulness to do so.
He, at times, can be abrasive. This made the decision a close vote of three to two over Ivy Petsinger, who we felt would be able to effectively lead her committee and liaise with administrators. But, we do think that Goldberg can provide that contrarian voice and be the push the USG Executive Committee needs to prioritize student concerns over administrators.
He has the passion to keep the Student Life Committee from stagnating and continuing the progress USG made this year in pushing for the needs of students.
(Something that we would like to note is that Goldberg is a frequent columnist for The Observer. The views that he expresses in his columns, like any other columnist, are strictly his, and are not indicative of The Observer’s view. Goldberg’s columns for The Observer were not discussed when considering endorsements.)
Vice President of Finance
The election is uncontested, with only current treasurer Tommy Pierre running. The editorial board has concerns over his candidacy, but believes that he should still be selected for the position.
The proposed Student Executive Council reforms rely heavily on the ability of the USG Vice President of Finance to both manage mass funding for USG student groups and reserve funding for off-the-tops and other SEC boards. Should they be passed, the VP of Finance would have more work and more power.
Tommy Pierre’s lack of knowledge of the reforms caused the endorsement committee to doubt his ability to carry out the new duties. However, we hope with his willingness to learn should he be elected and the reforms be implemented, that he would be able to adapt to the position.
We’re comfortable with Brian Ward, the position’s only candidate. We would have liked to see more choices for one of CWRU’s most important student representatives, but Ward should be a strong leader for USG who will continue to build on this year’s great work.
SEC referendum: Vote Yes
We endorse a yes vote for the proposed referendum to reform the Student Executive Council (SEC).
The changes will will help to make the system less political, with guaranteed allocations for each board, while still allowing the system to be responsive to student concerns. In addition, the Student Presidents’ Roundtable (SPR) should help to foster collaboration.
The resounding 13-0 vote that passed the proposed constitution through the SEC rarely happens. A unanimous vote speaks for itself; the inner bickering is already starting to be behind us.
We are impressed by the members of the SEC Reform Task Force and the SEC for their long hard year of work. It helped to convince the committee that these reforms are best for the student body. These individuals worked behind the scenes for every student on this campus and for that we thank them.