April 29, 2014

SG 2014: Slate endorsement

The Maroon Editorial Board endorses United Progress for executive slate.

United Progress

The Editorial Board endorses United Progress (UP) for the Student Government executive slate. UP consists of second-year presidential candidate Tyler Kissinger, third-year vice president for administration candidate Arlin Hill, and third-year vice president for student affairs candidate Aseal Tineh.

United Progress has several outward-looking initiatives described in its platform, and also displays an awareness of the mechanics necessary for effectively bringing about such changes. Much of the power SG holds is through resolutions and referendums, which are only meaningful when backed by significant student support. This can only be achieved through an increased level of SG’s visibility throughout the student body. United Progress plans to address this through more aggressive social media promotion, the use of student-wide emails, and the expansion of the role of the director of communications, appointed this year. Furthermore, United Progress plans to appoint two additional assistants to the vice presidents, who will relieve some of the burden of everyday tasks from the slate, leaving them the time to consider and more effectively implement longer-term vision. Below, the Editorial Board outlines and comments on three of the party’s major tangible goals for the coming year:

Transit Changes

UP supports providing University students with U-Passes, and Kissinger has stated that the main barrier to the implementation of U-Pass is the level of student support. While a recent SG survey showed that 70 percent of 175 students surveyed support implementing U-Pass and 19 percent were unsure, Kissinger stated that 80 to 90 percent support from a larger student sample would be needed in order to bring U-Pass to campus. The Editorial Board supports UP’s goals for U-Pass if these criteria are met, but acknowledges that doing so relies on SG’s increased visibility and interaction with students. As mentioned above, the slate has concrete initiatives to gain this visibility, and for U-Pass to become a reality, these plans must manifest themselves both clearly and effectively.

Campus Climate Report

An important part of UP’s larger goal of soliciting the student voice and working towards greater equity and inclusivity on campus is the execution of a campus climate assessment. A similar study was last conducted in 2006, and lead to the formation of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. We laud the slate for their attention to the past successes of Student Government. The mechanisms for conducting this assessment, though, are complex—in 2006, the report took 18 months to administer. To that end, we encourage UP to be forthright with their administrative plans and projected timeline for conducting a survey of this breadth, both as a gesture of transparency and to facilitate greater accountability with regards to this goal.

Supporting RSOs

UP has outlined a three-pronged approach to supporting student organizations. First, they hope to lobby individual graduate schools to make their buildings available for undergraduate RSO meetings. Although this process will probably be lengthy, the availability of even one more building, such as Booth, would be a significant benefit. Second, UP aims to improve the clarity and accessibility of information currently available regarding funding processes for RSOs. Accomplishing this would be a tangible manifestation of UP’s commitment to internally reorganizing Student Government. Third, UP is committed to a more fair allocation of funds, especially for smaller RSOs that currently spend a significant amount of time fundraising. Broadly, we are encouraged by UP’s clear plan for moving forward with these initiatives that will streamline the day-to-day operations of RSOs as well as signal a commitment to improving student life.

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