The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Voting for our new student body president opened at 7 a.m. this morning and will stay open until 7 p.m. tomorrow. While we encourage everyone to get on The Hub during this time and vote, we do think everyone should be informed before doing so.
The three presidential candidates and their running mates (all juniors, and nearly all Associated Student Government (ASG) members) share a lot of the same goals. All of their platforms touch on improving Student Counseling Services, parking and dining. They all want to initiate cultural changes among the student body and make changes Uptown. None are fans of this semester’s new one-door residence hall policy.
But each ticket also has issues of their own they’d like to tackle, as we learned from a public debate held in Armstrong last Monday and individual meetings with the candidates in the Miami Student office. Here are their individual goals, what sets them apart from other candidates and what our editorial board thinks of these tickets.
Meaghan Murtagh and Vincent Smith have made a point of campaigning directly to students, approaching people around campus and, more specifically, in Pulley Diner, to talk to them about what they care about. We were impressed by their level of authenticity during the campaign and while speaking to us.
While all three tickets cited increased diversity as something they want to strive for if elected, Murtagh and Smith seemed particularly passionate about the subject. They were the only candidates who mentioned the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which is comprised of six historically black sororities and fraternities at Miami, and described plans to include them in future Greek events with the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council.
Murtagh and Smith also demonstrated a particular concern for international students and laid out initiatives to make them feel more comfortable on campus. These include diversity training during freshman orientation, establishing a peer mentoring system between domestic and international students and better utilizing the Office of Diversity Affairs to make international students feel at home here.
Murtagh is ASG’s Secretary for Advancement and Alumni Affairs. Smith has never been involved with the organization — something, they pointed out, that could work in their favor in negotiating with the administration, since they would not have any biases against him or personal relationships to lean on.
Alex Boster and Charles Kennick may have the strongest polish and rapport of all the candidates, but their mutual platform — while generally promoting the same messages as the others — was the weakest on their website and social media, relying more heavily on vague summary than specifics.
However, the candidates were the most professional and prepared in person, which would benefit the pair in working with administrators.
The duo has also, historically, been willing to push back against the administration when they have felt it’s necessary. While it’s crucial that a student body president and vice president are able to work with Miami administrators, it’s equally important that they’re willing to stand up to them on behalf of the student body.
And, while the Gale/Rose team has made Oxford’s bikeshare endeavors a part of their campaign, as Gale was involved in the program’s passing through city council, Charles Kennick, along with ASG Senator Nick Froehlich and ASG Secretary for Off-Campus Affairs Sean Perme, were all major organizers of the initiative.
Boster is an ASG senator, but days before her election last month, she completed a two-year term as a student trustee on the Miami Board of Trustees — a unique position not held by any other candidate in recent memory. Kennick has served as an ASG senator for two terms, and is President of Miami’s College Democrats.
In addition to both serving in ASG, Gale and Rose both have, collectively, the most leadership experience of all the candidates.
They have also demonstrated the most interest in continuing the efforts of the current president, vice president and the rest of ASG. Considering all that has been accomplished under the current administration over the last year, this is a refreshingly realistic idea that would likely benefit the student body.
Rose, in particular, has already demonstrated a particularly strong passion for diversity. They are also currently President of the Diversity Affairs Council, and recently organized Diversity Week. They can use this experience to accomplish their diversity-related goals, such as establishing an ASG fund for “Diversity Programming” and making diversity training part of the UNV 101 curriculum.
Gale is an off-campus senator for ASG, and Rose is the organization’s Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion. Both serve on several ASG-affiliated committees.