April 22, 2008

Editorial: College Council endorsements

This year’s College Council (CC) elections are notable for the ten students running as part of the “SGProgress” coalition, with a shared platform advocating a series of political goals. A party system and partisanship do not benefit CC; student representatives serve their constituents best when listening to and advocating for the diverse interests of the entire student body, rather than attempting to advance personal political causes, many of which fall outside SG’s traditional purview. When considering candidates for endorsement, we sought those who demonstrated individual initiative and had a realistic view of SG as a body that focuses on issues directly affecting students, such as the closing of the A-Level, and eschews larger political controversies.

Class of 2009

The Maroon was encouraged by the quality of candidates running to represent the Class of 2009, and enthusiastically endorses Nicholas Rodman, David Grossman, Kati Proctor, and Greg Gabrellas. These candidates offered refreshingly rational, realistic, and well thought-out platforms, all supporting necessary reforms to the RSO-funding process; each also offers substantial experience and foresight. Some of the ideas advocated by Akshay Birla were admirable, but others, such as his proposal to create an international coalition of students to lobby world leaders, are outside of the ability of the CC. Christina Melander and Gabriel Gaster have not demonstrated a credible understanding of the role of College Council and have not proven they are candidates who will approach the position inclusively or constructively.

Class of 2010

The candidates to represent the Class of 2010 were uniformly unimpressive. With significant reservation, the Maroon endorses Aaron Goggans, Prerna Nadathur, Jarrod Wolf, and Jay Kim. Incumbent Wolf’s and Kim’s decisions to study abroad for a quarter next year are worrisome, and their plans to utilize proxies and Skype messaging to “attend” meetings were unconvincing. Otherwise, Wolf and Kim have proven themselves as worthy CC members, with Wolf taking a lead role in creating the Coalition of Chicago Colleges and Kim leading an initiative to centralize campus printing. Neither Goggans nor Nadathur demonstrated a particular qualification for the position beyond basic competency; we hope they use their full three quarters in Hyde Park next year to develop the fresh ideas of their SGProgress peer Gabrellas. We were unable to evaluate the other two SGProgress candidates from this year, Samuel Feldman and Ali Feenstra, as they did not respond to a Maroon Editorial Board questionnaire, and their posted candidate statements were, at best, vapid.

Class of 2011

The Maroon was again impressed by the quality of the candidates offered by the Class of 2011, and we believe Frank Pucci, Julian Quintanilla, Archibald England, and Matthew Hartman will best serve the rising second-year class. We were particularly struck by some of the initiatives proposed by Pucci and Hartman, which included advocacy on behalf of commuter students and 24-hour dining, respectively. Similarly, England demonstrated a true dedication to SG’s greatest need: making the RSO funding process simpler and more transparent. While Quintanilla exhibited a disarming satisfaction with the status quo regarding student activist funding, he has proven an effective and efficient representative this year, taking a leading role in resolving the #171 bus stop controversy. Mark Redmond and Robin Peterson’s platforms were somewhat compelling but ultimately fell outside the realm of plausibility. Brian Clarke, Victor Leung, and Arthur Baptist did not provide responses to the Editorial Board’s questionnaire, nor did their candidate statements provide any actionable reason to support their election.

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional Editorial Board member.