SG 2014: Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees endorsement

The Maroon Editorial Board endorses Alex DiLalla for Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

By Maroon Editorial Board

Below, the Editorial Board outlines the platforms of the three candidates before giving its endorsement.

Clemente Dadoo

Third-year write-in candidate Clemente Dadoo uniquely focuses his campaign on issues that have their greatest effects on practical student concerns. Dadoo’s status as an upperclassmen and his accompanying sense of the University community’s needs is one of his major appeals as a candidate. Due to his experiences with other students, improving post-graduation opportunities is at the top of Dadoo’s priority list. While he does not think the University should invest in an engineering school of its own, Dadoo says he would begin a conversation with the Board of Trustees toward enacting a 3-2 engineering program, which would allow students to complete three years of a liberal arts education at UChicago followed by two years of engineering education at another school. As a chemistry major who has spent years in classes with other science majors, Dadoo is familiar with student complaints that certain postgraduate fields are closed off to them because the College doesn’t give students the option of pursuing engineering. Dadoo also aims to increase contact between undergraduates and recent alumni in order to give current undergraduates better guidance in moving into the post-collegiate world, especially in fields outside the more traditional UChicago career routes in finance and medicine. It should also be noted that Dadoo does not support changing the nature of his position to allow him a vote on the Board of Trustees, stating that the voice of the student body should not be placed in the hands of one individual. Instead Dadoo pushes for all students to vote via referendum on every item the board votes on, and for the majority decision to count as one vote on the Board of Trustees.

Alex DiLalla

Much of first-year write-in candidate Alex DiLalla’s platform is dedicated to creating a stronger dialogue between students and the Board of Trustees. One of DiLalla’s principle goals is for the Board to adopt a model similar to that of Duke University, including one elected fourth-year liaison with voting power and the right to sit in on full board meetings. To assist in this process, DiLalla has enlisted the support and advice of members of the Duke Student Government. DiLalla also plans to end a gag rule which blocks the Undergraduate Liaison from disclosing all of the information to which he is privy, or at the very least reducing the rule’s jurisdiction to situations involving only the most confidential agreements. Finally, DiLalla aims to engage the Board of Trustees with the general student body through town hall–style meetings, which would expand on the luncheon program instated this year, but be more inclusive and accessible while also creating a space in which students can, in person and as a body, express their concerns to and demand responses from the Board. Speaking to this commitment to discussion, DiLalla has made it clear that, regarding the lack of a trauma center on the South Side, his responsibility as Liaison to the Board of Trustees means opening the largely closed dialogue on the issue between student organizers and the University. In alignment with his aggressive and far-reaching platform, DiLalla also supports both responsible policing, and student desires for divestment—citing the UChicago Climate Action Network’s ballot initiative in 2013, which found that 70 percent of the student body supported divestment from fossil fuels. He pledges to work toward making these movements realities if elected, and is prepared to take progress in doses as large as they come.

Leeho Lim

First-year Leeho Lim is a Class of 2017 Student Representative on College Council. Campaigning under the phrase “unity in voice,” he seeks to work with the Board of Trustees to bring together students around events such as Café Careers, which would introduce undergraduates to graduate students in their future fields of interest. Leeho has the most experience with SG out of the candidates for Liaison to the Board of Trustees, and his commitment to SG is apparent, along with his belief that SG should strive to communicate the desires of the student body. To this end, he seeks to organize larger-scale events for the Board of Trustees to interact with the student body and to advocate for the instating of three voting student members on the board to ensure the diversity of undergraduate student opinion is properly represented. Like DiLalla, Lim advocates for divestment from fossil fuels and the presence of a trauma center on the South Side, and believes these major campaigns necessitate two active voices: the external voice of students, and the Liaison’s own in conversing with the Board of Trustees.

The Editorial Board endorses DiLalla for Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees. DiLalla has concrete ideas regarding ways to initiate change, as well as an aggressive platform that addresses issues that concern not only students but also the greater South Side. However, DiLalla’s first priority is students, and he has the most concrete plan among the candidates to enact student enfranchisement on the Board of Trustees. Acknowledging the ambitious nature of this initiative, DiLalla sees the accomplishment of certain tangible steps toward this goal—presenting a plan of action to the Board that will warrant its serious consideration, setting up a meeting between the Student Life Committee and Duke officials—as success. DiLalla’s previous political experiences—albeit outside SG—lend some feasibility to the process behind his declared goals; that he has a plan to leave the progress of these arguments at a markedly further point at the end of his time as Liaison is particularly valuable to students.

The Editorial Board’s review of the candidates for Undergraduate Community and Government Liaison will be published online tomorrow.

The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.