Support the unusual suspects

By John Cottrell

I’m not about to sit here and preach to you about the benefits of Student Government or the hypocrisy involved in criticizing a body which you students are responsible for electing. Instead, I expect the intelligent students at the University of Chicago to make an intelligent and well-informed decision next week. Yes, that does require an ounce of research into the qualifications of each slate and liaison candidate, but I’m going to make it real easy for you. Next week vote for the Unusual Suspects in the executive slate election and then vote for Jesse Ehrenfeld for Student Liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Let’s start with executive slate. Enrique, Jasmine, and Jerome bring a plethora of credentials to the table that the other slates could not touch with a large tree. First, there is SG experience on the part of Enrique and Jasmine. Both of these slate members were elected to the College Council earlier this year and were entrusted by the students to further their voice with administrators. Enrique single-handedly opened up the A-level of the Regenstein for 24-hour access, a feat that Student Government has been attempting to accomplish forever. Furthermore, he has forged relationships with key administrators that will prove useful as president.

Jasmine was the undergraduate representative to the Student Health Advisory Committee, and is well versed on health issues that affect all University students. Jasmine also adds ethnic diversity to the Unusual Suspects, a trait that is already in their favor. When key issues come up about minority involvement on campus and the possibility for a cultural center, I wouldn’t trust any other slate with coordinating such efforts.

Jerome contributes an outsider’s perspective to SG and clearly tips the balance in favor of the Unusual Suspects. Other slates try to package their “SG inexperience” as key to their platform, yet seemingly have no concept of the inner workings of SG. With Jerome, Jasmine, and Enrique you get the best of both worlds—a slate that incorporates a proven history in SG and a fresh perspective.

Overall, the Unusual Suspects’ proposals maintain a steady balance between practical initiatives and idealistic plans for improving campus life. They are not making promises they can’t keep, but they are still trying to push the SG envelope. I can’t say the same about the other slates, who appear to all be trying to debunk the Unusual Suspects’ platform in a last ditch effort to attract voters.

If you ask past executive slates, they will say that the transfer of power and the grace period between administrations has little room for error. If a slate has no or little SG experience, then the president and vice presidents need a few weeks or a month to learn what the positions are all about. None of the other slates have the same history or close personal relationships with administrators as the Unusual Suspects. They are accomplished student advocates and are your best bet in next week’s elections.

Now for liaison candidate, a position that has received almost no press coverage or official newspaper endorsements. Although voters will be bombarded with an array of qualified candidates, the one person who stands out among this crowd is Jesse Ehrenfeld. Jesse is member of Graduate Council and is best fitted to fill the shoes (or cowboy boots) of Ryan Nelson, the current and highly successful Liaison. As an undergraduate at another University, Jesse was a college liaison to the Board of Trustees, and now he will recall his experience and further extend our growing relationship with the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees.

So the already easy voting process is now a lot easier. Just look at the candidates, be informed, and vote for the people who are best qualified. I know most of you are indifferent, but this election is really a no-brainer. If you honestly care about getting RSOs more money, financial aid reform, and improving campus life, then vote for the Unusual Suspects. If you want to prove that students are capable of electing a competent and qualified Student Liaison to the Board of Trustees, and one that will continue being effective, vote for Jesse Ehrenfeld. It’s really not hard.