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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA candidate endorsements

    Each spring, the Arizona Daily Wildcat weighs the vision every ASUA candidate brings to the table by reviewing their platforms and individually interviewing candidates.

    Student government plays an essential role on campus, and the Daily Wildcat strives to hold the Associate Students of the University of Arizona accountable. In forming these endorsements, the Daily Wildcat editorial board hoped to select candidates who can bring a fresh perspective to a tired institution.

    ASUA President

    Given the tensions created by the legal battle being waged between the Arizona Board of Regents and the Arizona Students’ Association, a statewide student lobbying group, the election for the next president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona has become more interesting than normal.

    By interesting, we mean difficult. The Daily Wildcat editorial board struggled to decide between creative writing junior Dylan Duniho and engineering management junior Morgan Abraham.

    Duniho isn’t your typical ASUA candidate, or your average student, for that matter. He was a 22-year-old freshman, “coming just as others were going,” he said. But now, at 25, he says he hopes to use his nontraditional background to his advantage.

    Duniho described his initial entry into ASUA — his desire to get involved, the discouragement he felt upon hearing that UA student government is a clique, where you have to be “friends of friends of friends” to get in. It nearly kept him from joining.

    We’re glad it didn’t.

    Duniho openly acknowledges that ASUA’s biggest problem has always been its club-like atmosphere, where open debate is sometimes hindered by the sense that everyone there is your best friend. Furthermore, he recognizes that ASUA can sometimes let students who aren’t as actively involved — often nontraditional students like him — fall by the wayside.

    We’re confident he has the drive and the perspective to push student government to do better than that.

    On the other hand, his opponent has also said that what ASUA needs most is more arguing among student leaders.

    Running on the campaign slogan, “Be heard,” Morgan Abraham’s platforms are organized, specific and achievable.

    Abraham, who joined the ASUA Senate last fall in a special election to fill a vacated seat, has said he hopes to reach out to constituents more through a weekly YouTube video and a “we the people” style petition page.

    Duniho and Abraham are both qualified for the position, and the Wildcat editorial board is confident in either candidate. But what swayed this endorsement was Abraham’s specificity. Accomplishing all of his ideas is likely overly ambitious, but what kind of leader isn’t?

    It was a close call, but the Daily Wildcat endorses Morgan Abraham for ASUA president.

    Administrative vice president

    Amanda Lester is running unopposed, but that isn’t the reason we’re endorsing her. As the chief of staff to current ASUA administrative vice president Paige Sager, Lester is already familiar with the office of AVP and she knows what she wants to accomplish.

    One of the more interesting goals Lester wants to achieve is to expand the Freshman Class Council’s shadowing program, so that it will act as a stepping stone for students seriously trying to get involved with ASUA and make it a more meaningful club on campus.

    But more importantly, Lester has the right attitude. As the only candidate, it’s not like she’s running a hard race. It would be easy for her to sit back, prop up her feet and wait for votes to roll in. However, Lester was careful to emphasize that she’s not interested in running like she’s just a default option. She’s running because she wants to lead, and it shows.

    Executive vice president

    The executive vice president race is a strange one, as there is no name appearing on the formal ballot, and all of the candidates are write-in. There’s also a clear lack of experience in most of the candidates, which was made apparent when their platforms were ripped apart in Sunday’s question & answer session, hosted by ASUA.

    However, a lot of what has to be done can be learned in the months prior to the executive vice president-elect taking office, and the Daily Wildcat editorial board was impressed by two candidates in particular. In the end, it came down to Jordan Allison. Although Mariam Nikola’s energy and thoughtfulness caught our attention (and set her up for a bright, future run at ASUA), Allison’s proven commitment to social justice and her extensive previous involvement in a number of clubs served by ASUA give her the perspective the EVP needs to understand the needs of clubs on campus.

    Senate

    Grant Suman

    Grant Suman impressed us with his talk of promoting campus sustainability. Students at universities across the country have started initiating more sustainable movements and it only makes sense that the UA follow suit. Suman also has a platform to make students more aware of the services that the CatTran has to offer. Suman is prepared, and as a senate aide this semester, he knows to set reasonable goals that are possible to achieve.

    Elena Gold

    Elena Gold has a long and ambitious list of things she hopes to accomplish, such as the expansion of the UA’s mobile app and the CatCash system, the creation of a shuttle system to off-campus stores like Target and the construction of a student involvement matching tool to help students find clubs that suit their interests. But what’s more noteworthy is that Gold acknowledged that she would hit administrative and logistical roadblocks along the way, and she is prepared to meet those obstacles head-on.

    Chris Seffren

    Chris Seffren took a unique approach to his platforms in suggesting priority registration for ROTC students. He is interested in the academic side of campus life, as he also plans to implement an incentive program for students who do well in school. While both of these things will be difficult to achieve in office, because they rely almost exclusively on the full support of administrators, they could really benefit the student body. His other goal is to strengthen the relationship between the UA and Tucson, which could benefit students along with the community.

    Alex Barbee

    Alex Barbee’s platform about handicap accessibility and working with the Disability Resource Center is something different from every other candidate on the ballot. Inspired by the six months that she spent in a wheelchair after a car crash, she’s passionate about making the campus more handicap accessible.

    Barbee’s idea is a refreshing take on an old buzzword. Instead of increasing accessibility to ASUA, she wants to see more accessibility to campus for a group of students that is forgotten far too often.

    Christopher Chavez

    It would be easy to write off someone who ran up the $1,000 spending limit on his bursar’s account so quickly that he had to take out a loan. But if you did, you’d miss out on Christopher Chavez. He hasn’t even been elected yet, but he’s already working with the Bursar’s Office to expand the time period during which students are allowed to charge items to their account, to prevent stories like his. He also hopes to improve student retention by increasing student involvement. Chavez is thoughtful, enthusiastic and genuinely interested in bettering the student experience — exactly what an ASUA senator should be.

    – Endorsements for ASUA candidates are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board. Board members are Kristina Bui, Dan Desrochers, Casey Lewandrowski, K.C. Libman and Sarah Precup. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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