April 29, 2016

The Maroon Editorial Board Endorses Our Campus

SG Elections 2016: Executive Slate.

The Maroon Editorial Board endorses Our Campus for Executive Slate. The slate consists of Chase Woods for president, Paul Drexler for vice president of administration, and Victoria Monteiro for vice president of student affairs.

Our Campus has its finger on the pulse of the student body, and is committed to finding realistic solutions to the issues that have most directly affected UChicago over the past year. Its goal is to integrate Student Government (SG) into campus culture and to facilitate a dialogue between RSOs and athletic teams, Greek-affiliated and non-affiliated students, activists, and administrators. 

Sexual assault and Greek life are at the center of Our Campus’s platform. The slate released a detailed sexual assault policy on Monday recommending that funds for sexual assault awareness programs be distributed throughout the year instead of concentrated in one month, and that the bulk of programming be shifted from the spring to the fall, when new students are arriving on campus. Our Campus also proposes the creation of a student liaison position to Sarah Wake, the Title IX coordinator. This position has the potential to reduce some of the bureaucratic frustrations that often stand in the way of open dialogue between students and the administration regarding sexual assault. 

Monteiro is in a sorority, which gives Our Campus the insight it needs to work toward integrating the Greek community into the greater campus community. She explained that given fraternities’ lack of support for an Interfraternity Council, Our Campus would push for a peer standards board to increase accountability within Greek life. This peer standards board, comprised of Greek and non-affiliated students, would develop policies aimed at preventing and addressing sexual assault, racism, and other forms of misconduct. 

Our Campus does not have a graduate student on the ticket, but it is committed to fairly and equally representing students across all graduate divisions. It proposes the creation of a student labor committee aimed at communicating to the administration undergraduate and graduate concerns pertaining to unionization and fair wages. It also stresses the importance of transparency and accountability in Student Government, promising to work to live-stream assembly meetings online. Not only will measures like this enable a broad cross-section of the student body to stay informed about campus issues, but it will also protect against unfair and inconsistent regulations such as those applied to recording in the CC meeting on divestment earlier this month. 

Our Campus is not interested in campus politics. Its goal is to represent and unite subsections of the student body in a way that the current executive slate has been unable to do. Woods, Drexler, and Monteiro may not have prior SG experience, but they are informed and active members of the community who will grow into their respective roles. Our Campus is in touch with the issues UChicago students care about and possesses the energy and vision necessary to take them on. 

United Progress

United Progress has SG experience and a plan aimed at increasing University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) accountability, both of which Our Campus lacks. However, presidential candidate Eric Holmberg, who prohibited recordings at CC’s divestment debate earlier this month, has a poor track record when it comes to SG transparency. United Progress also dedicates part of its platform to Chicago State University (CSU), which Holmberg initially proposed UChicago’s endowment be used to support. He later walked back this idea after realizing it was infeasible, but struggled to clarify in an interview with The Maroon last week how the University could use its financial and political clout to help CSU. The idea comes from a good place, but is beyond the scope of SG, which is already limited in its ability to effect change on its own campus. 

Unite & Support

Michael Meng’s Student Government Finance Committee experience is a considerable asset to Unite & Support, whose primary focus if elected would be to bring greater equity and openness to the RSO funding process. However, Unite & Support does not have a clear and cohesive set of policies for dealing with salient campus issues. In an interview with The Maroon, the slate responded ambivalently to questions about unionization and the scope of SG, and candidates Meng and Kennedy Green contradicted each other when asked about how the University should approach Greek life. When asked about the administration’s response to the leaked AEPi e-mails, Green said, “There has to be more University involvement.” This came moments after Meng, president of the Multicultural Greek Council and vice president of Lambda Phi Epsilon, said, I don’t think the administration should have a relationship with Greek life,” and expressed support for expanding Greek life’s internal accountability mechanisms.

Moose Party

Moose has no comment on sexual assault; The Maroon has no comment on Moose.

The Maroon Editorial Board

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